PTI PHOTO (PTI7_25_2017_000001B)

While people are all set to welcome Ganpati Bappa, devotees will also have to pay a bit extra for Ganesh idols. While people are preparing to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi later this month, GST is dampening the zeal. Sculptors say that buying a Ganesha idol this year will cost a little more.

Idol maker, Pradep Maduskar, told Lokmat that, even though there is no GST on Ganesh idols, but the clay, colour, plaster of Paris which is needed to build the Ganesh idols have GST implemented on them. Due to this, the cost of making the Ganesh idols increase and that’s the reason cost of the Ganesh have increased.

According to report in Quint, Ganesh Galli, which is one of the most famous Mandals at Lalbaug, and has been around since 1927, this year, will have had to shell out an additional Rs 20-25 lakh. The total costs include the idol and decorations going up to Rs 1 crore.

The goods and services tax (GST), levied since July 1, has increased the rates on plaster of Paris from an earlier 13.5 per cent to 18 per cent. Paints and varnishes are now taxed at 28 per cent from the earlier 13.5 per cent. These two are the key raw materials that make up the Ganesha idols that will grace households all across the country.

Naresh Dahibaokar from the Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti told Mid-Day, “We had requested the state government to reduce the tax burden on raw materials required for making idols, but there was no response. So, there is likely to be an increase of about 20 per cent for those who have booked their idols after July 1. While there is a trend of increase in idol prices by about 10 per cent every year, this year the increase in price has doubled, owing to GST.”

A 15-foot idol that cost about Rs 80,000 to Rs 90,000 last year, now costs at least Rs 1.05 lakh. This is because of a rise in the cost of materials like Plaster of Paris, coir and paints – all more expensive because of GST. But the mandals will have a small reason to rejoice, as there is no GST on donations.

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Free Press Journal