GST impact: Cultural capital Pune can’t afford ‘expensive’ Marathi plays
The new tax regime after coming into effect a month ago has started showing its impact with number of events (Marathi dramas, plays, folk dance events) going down by 40-50%. The 18% GST applicable on tickets above Rs250 has led to substantial increase in the ticket rates.pune Updated: Aug 02, 2017 10:07 IST
A month after coming into effect, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) has started showing its impact on various businesses, including Marathi drama and hotel industry. Already grappling with the problem of fewer audiences, the GST has dealt a severe blow to Marathi drama and traditional folk dance events in the city while hotel owners say footfall has gone down by 20%.
The new tax regime after coming into effect a month ago has started showing its impact with number of events going down by 40-50%. The 18% GST applicable on tickets above Rs250 has led to substantial increase in the ticket rates besides pushing up other charges such as travelling cost of artists and catering expenses.
As a result, the number of audience coming to watch the play or traditional dance performances such as Lavani has gone down, leading to decline in the number of events, said people related to the industry.
Arun Gaikwad, producer of Garja Maharashtra Maza, a Marathi event, said, “GST regime increased production costs, including auditorium charges, travelling charges, hostelling charges, catering charges and advertisement charges. But we cannot increase charges of ticket,hence, we are thinking of closing this loss making business.” As other industries are also hit by GST, there is no new order of programme, he added.
For conducting a single show, Gaikwad has to maintain a 30-member team, for outside of Pune, he has to maintain team of 40 members, including bus facility.
The famous Balgandharva auditorium in Pune runs three shows daily. However, after GST, there has been one or two shows, said the auditorium manager. Vitthal Asware, doorkeeper of Balgandharva auditorium said, “After GST, the number of shows have gone down, which has affected my income.”
According to the producer of another Marathi cultural event, Maharashtrachi Lokdhara, Dhananjay Gaikwad, said it will be a huge setback for the our industry as well as the Lavani audience due to GST. “If we raise the ticket price, people will prefer to watch cinema or they would prefer watching Marathi films on TV,” he said.
Former president of Natya Parishad Pune, Pradip Kamble said, “Big production houses can manage things but an increase in the tax has hit small producers hard. We have already requested government to exempt our industry from GST slab. Yashwantrao Chavan had given ‘Rajashray’ to our industry by exempting tax in his regime. We are expecting same from this government.”
Another producer from Pune, Shashikant Kothale, threatened that “if this situation will not change we will hold protest march in consultation with our association’’. “We are under fear after the note ban, GST. Now what is next? The note ban was implemented by the government during the ‘Yatra’ season of many villages, hence, we faced severe loss during that period and now GST. How we can survive?” he asked.
The restaurant owners said that to check the GST impact on their business, they have started giving discounts of five to ten per cent. “The hotel industry business has been hit by almost 20% as people have tightened their purse after increased bill due to GST,” said Ganesh Shetty, president of Pune hoteliers association.
To minimise production cost on newspaper advertisement, some producers have formed WhatsApp groups and shared link among citizens. They shared information regarding the show through the social platform announcing discount on ticket window to attract citizens.