GST is killing dreams of budding athletes in Pune
Cost of most of the equipments have jumped from 4-5% to 28% and it will discourage many youngsters, particularly those from the underprivileged background who take up sports.pune Updated: Jul 11, 2017 14:00 IST
The newly introduced Goods and Services Tax (GST) will harm the growing sports culture in the city as many sports goods come under the highest tax bracket of 28%, feel sports associations, shop owners and sportspersons.
“The decision of raising the tax on gymnastic and athletics is very painful. Cost of most of the equipments have jumped from 4-5% to 28% and it will discourage many youngsters, particularly those from the underprivileged background who take up sports. On one hand, the government expects our sportspersons to bring home medals and on the other hand, they increase the prices of sports equipment,” said Pralhad Sawant, secretary, Maharashtra Athletics Association.
- Articles and equipment for general physical exercise, gymnastics, athletics, other sports (including table tennis) or outdoor games, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; swimming pools and paddling pools
- Water-skis, surf boards, sailboards and other water sport equipment
- Golf clubs and other golf equipment
- Tennis, badminton or similar rackets, whether or not strung
- Shoulder pads for football
- Sports net
- Polo sticks including blades, shafts and heads
- Ice skates and roller skates
- Boxing equipment
- Badminton shuttle cocks
- Leg pads and bats for cricket
- Hockey sticks and blades
- Shin guards and elbow or shoulders pads excluding those for football; waist, thigh and hip protective equipment
Newly introduced Goods and Services Tax (GST) has changed the cost of many sports goods
“If you look at the names of international medallists like Lalita Babar, Kavita Raut, Pooja Varhade and Arati Patil, all of them have come from rural areas and a poor financial background. They are already struggling to get sponsors and even athletics associations are facing the same issue. In such a scenario, if the rates are hiked, we won’t see any talented athletes in the future. We are just killing the dreams of those budding athletes,” he added.
Echoing him, Harshal Nikam, sports coach of Kataria high school said, “For many players who face financial crunch and are somehow managing to make ends meet, this is a big blow. And mostly it’s the schools which will be affected. Many schools have a limited budget for sports and I fear that many of them will get discouraged about participating in sports activities due to the extended burden.”
Sports shop owners also share a similar sentiment. Though, the GST will be a big advantage for those who do a fair business, the government should rectify few flaws in the rules, feels sports shop owners in the city.
“We welcome GST as it’s going to help the country grow. But, we sincerely feel that they should reconsider few points where interests of common man is related,” said Anil Kalra of Shakti Sports, one of the oldest and biggest sports mall in the city.
“For helmets, they have raised the tax from 6% to 12%. It won’t affect the helmets used for motorcycles much since they already were charged with excise duty and vat. But they have included every helmet under one category. So, cricket, cycling and skating helmets, which didn’t have excise duty earlier, have become costly. Actually the government should encourage them to wear such protective gears by reducing the tax,” he said.
“Putting fitness related items under 28% is also a ridiculous decision. Today, we need a healthy and fit generation. We need to encourage them to spend more time on physical activities than mobiles and computers. But, I don’t understand why the government is keen to discourage them. Sports medical equipments like knee caps, straps, ankle and wrist or elbow support also come under 28% tax slab. We are hoping for the best that the government will reconsider this,” he added.