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GST woes: Delhi youngsters rue price hike, say difficult to manage budgets

The Goods and Services Tax has become a nightmare for youngsters who survive on a shoestring budget. From eating out to shopping online, GST has had an impact on almost everything.

more lifestyle Updated: Jul 25, 2017 18:07 IST
Etti Bali and Naina Arora
Students are finding it difficult to manage expenses after implementation of GST.
Students are finding it difficult to manage expenses after implementation of GST.(Saumya Khandelwal/HT PHOTO)

For students, Delhi University’s new session has brought along with it not just the usual worries but also the unique challenge to survive in the times of the GST (Goods and Services Tax). Ever since GST’s implementation, the cost of almost everything — from eating out to ordering food and retail products — has been affected. And, this has impacted the lives of students, especially hostellers and PG dwellers. We speak to some of the students and young professionals, to find out how they are coping with the impact of GST.

Hungry, not anymore!

Kartikey Parashar, a third year BTech student from Greater Noida says he has cut down on his spending after GST. “I have had only one outing post GST. I would earlier go out regularly (at least thrice a week) with friends but that has reduced to a great extent. Being a hosteller I would often order pizza online but unfortunately that has stopped too.” He has also put a tab to how much he orders online. “I used to buy clothes online but have also put a cap on it, owing to increased taxes,” adds Parashar.

Every penny counts

Sheena Goel, a young professional, who lives alone, works at odd hours, and prefers a particular food delivery website, was pretty miffed recently upon seeing 12 per cent GST added to her bill. “Earlier, the price of an item on this website was the final price one paid at checkout. Now, it looks like another 12 per cent of my hard-earned money will go to the sarkari (government) kitty,” she says unhappily.

Ordering food and other commodities online has also become expensive. (iStockphoto)

Cheaper options

Many students are now opting for pocket-friendly restaurants. “I used to go out five times a week earlier. Something that I would spend on two visits, I am now spending on one single visit at cafes and fine dining restaurants. Now, I go to food outlets that suit my pocket. I prefer not going to those restaurants that were already expensive as it’s not something my pocket can afford. GST’s impact has been on my eating out and shopping,” says Priyanka Gupta, a young corporate from Gurgaon.

Some users on Twitter and Facebook have also shared photos of food bills, showing the increase in the cost after the implementation of GST:

Putting a stop to eating out

Arpita Awasthi (name changed), who recently graduated from Ramjas College, questions how will freshers manage their income if the expenses keep piling up? “The taxes pile up to 40-50 per cent of the total bill at any restaurant. I remember once when I had gone out with my friends, the bill amounted to Rs 1,500, out of which Rs 400 was just the tax! We have stopped going out now, and don’t even order food at our place,” she says.

Shopping at local garment shops has become a struggle with owners trying every gimmick in the book to evade tax. “I went to buy a kurta and pyjama that was for Rs 700. The shopkeeper gave separate bills for both items,” adds Awasthi.

Health matters

Manika Tomar, a first year masters student at Delhi School of Economics, who lives in a PG accommodation, says, “Hostel food doesn’t really meet all our expectations, so people tend to eat out. I, actually, think fine dining before GST was cheaper than now. Having a healthy diet has become an expensive thing now!”

Online retail websites have also increased the tax on the total bill. “If you talk about Myntra, they add a separate tax on checkout, but Amazon doesn’t do that. There has been an increase in this tax. I have stopped buying from Myntra because I don’t want to pay an extra tax plus delivery charges,” she adds.

Tax, what tax?

Then, there are also those who haven’t felt the brunt of GST, at all. “Since I live with my parents, I haven’t felt the pinch as such. Shopping is good, at least for the time being, as all the stores are offering huge discounts on their stocks,” says Vaishnavi Saxena, a student of Campus Law Centre.

Those students who are prudent with their spending and buy only the basics, GST is of little importance. Since these commodities are essential, they anyway have to buy them. “The things I buy, are essentials, so there has been no difference in my shopping list. An increase of a few rupees doesn’t pinch my pocket,” says Dheeraj Sharma (name changed), a student from Hans Raj College.

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