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GST impact: Budding shooters, cueists feel the pinch due to higher tax

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) has made shooting and cue sports equipments more expensive which could hamper their growth among budding players.

other sports Updated: Jul 22, 2017 09:48 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
GST,Goods and Services Tax,Billiards
Cue sports equipment have become more expensive after the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax.(AFP)

With the launch of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) three weeks ago, sportspersons, particularly at the grassroots, have already starting feeling the burden of an additional tax.

Former international pistol shooter and coach of the junior national team Jaspal Rana said that there should be revision of the policy.

“All sporting equipment should be in lower slab so that quality products are within the reach of athletes,” he said.

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Since all weapons for precision shooting are imported, additional tax might discourage youngsters taking up the sport, added the ace pistol shooter.

With the new GST rules, the cost of an air pistol has increased from Rs.1.2 lakh to Rs1.5 lakh, depending on the manufacturing unit. Similarly, air rifles in the range of Rs.2 lakh will cost Rs.2.3 lakh or more.

There is huge variation in tax too. Shooting equipment come under the 12 percent slab while pistol/revolver is grouped in the 28 percent slab. Other arms and ammunition come under 18 percent.

Delhi-based national level pistol shooter Farid Ali said that if the new policy isn’t revised, it will be a setback for budding athletes.

“Beginners don’t buy weapons in formative years, but wait and watch. Since there has been increase in cost, parents might not encourage their children into shooting,” he said.

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Indian shooters have been winning medals at global events including Olympics. Ace rifle shooter Abhinav Bindra became India’s first individual gold medallist at the 2008 Beijing Games. At the 2012 London Games, rifle shooter Gagan Narang won a bronze while Vijay Kumar claimed silver in the 25m rapid pistol event.

“In recent past, there has been a huge thrust in shooting due to the government’s liberal policy to import weapons. But variation in tax under GST might hamper that progress,” said Farid Ali.

Expansion of billiards and snooker also might slow down, feels Billiards and Snooker Federation of India (BSFI) secretary S Balasubramaniam. He said that cue sports have been clubbed with parlour and video games and therefore the sport’s accessories come under the 28 percent slab.

“We have some of the biggest names in cue sports, including Geet Sethi and Pankaj Advani. Indians have been winning world titles. It’s not a recreation event but a highly competitive sport that was scheduled in the Asian Games from 1998 to 2010,” he added.

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In his communication to finance minister Arun Jaitley, Balasubramaniam has apprised him of the situation. “We are hoping for a favourable response,” he said.

A good quality billiards table costs around Rs.2.5 lakh but now that might go up to Rs.3 lakh.

“It will discourage entrepreneurs from expanding their facilities. The growth of cue sports will be negligible. With equipment getting costlier, it will deny youngsters owning good cues. As you improve, you need better equipment because you have to compete with the best,” he concluded.

First Published: Jul 22, 2017 09:48 IST