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Has the GST been ‘Good and Simple’ for the Hotel Industry?

Arti Ghargi

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The hotel industry or the hospitality industry which is also a key driver of the economy was hit due the arbitrary structure. Further, the 18% tax on AC, Non-AC restaurants resulted in lesser customer turnout eventually impacting the business.

The 23rd edition of GST council rolled out biggest ever overhaul yet. It removed as many as 178 products from its 28% tax slab and brought them under 18%, 12% and 5% slab. The tax slab of over 200 products were changed.

Effect of GST on Hotel and Restaurant industry:

As per the initial structure GST applicable was as follows:

Establishment Type and Services GST Rate Applicable
At establishments with turnover of <INR 75 lakh 5% (Composition Scheme)
Non-AC restaurants not serving alcohol 12%
Non-AC restaurants serving alcohol 18%
Restaurants with AC or Central heating (whether serving or not serving alcohol) 18%
Partly AC and partly non-AC restaurants (includes those serving and those not serving alcohol) 18%
AC Restaurants inside 5-Star Hotels 18%

 

The hotel industry or the hospitality industry which is also a key driver of the economy was hit due the arbitrary structure. Further the 18% tax on AC, Non-AC restaurants resulted in lesser customer turnout eventually impacting the business.

Also Read: 28% GST AND 0% BENEFIT TO THE PUBLIC WHERE DOES ALL THE TAX MONEY MELT AWAY

 Adarsh Shetty, the President of AHAR-Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association, said that this tax structure affected 90% of his business operations. He said, “As per the GST regime, whichever higher percentage is applicable to the establishment; the same percentage will be applicable to the all services provided by it. So, the AC/ Non-AC/ takeaway will come under 18%. We had no justification for the customers as to why same tax percent was levied despite differences in services provided.”

According to Shetty’s estimate, his business suffered 30% losses in last four months.

The latest overhaul:

As per the latest tax structure introduced in the 23rd GST council meeting, the tax percent has been drastically reduced to 5%. This will surely help revive the industry reeling under GST pressure. But it is hard to predict how much time will the industry take to revive after the implementation of the 5% GST.

The economic scenario of India is complex with 1.3 Billion people contributing to it through formal and informal sectors. The latest GST overhaul though definitely welcoming, the question that arises is, for how many more times the economy will run on this ‘trial and error’ formula.

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How Kulbhushan Jadhav’s mother saved him from Pakistan’s crooked plot

Arti Ghargi

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Kulbhushan Jadhav

As American Fiction writer and Blogger N. K. Jemisin had put it “There is no greater warrior than a mother protecting her child”. Today, India can’t stop talking about one such warrior mother who saved her child from giving out a false confession.

Back when Pakistan government finally agreed to give the visa to Kulbhushan Jadhav’s wife, India also pressed for the issuance of a visa to Kulbhushan’s mother as well. After months of application-rejection play up Pakistan issued a visa to Kulbhushan’s wife and mother. While a ray of hope shone in the lives of Kulbhushan’s family members; Pakistan did not miss out on the opportunity to portray this as “Humanitarian” approach. Little did anyone know that Pakistan had cruel intention behind this entire set-up.

Also Watch: Kulbhushan Jadhav asked “Baba Kaise Hain?” Parliament gets emotional as Sushma Swaraj tells the story

The Kulbhushan Jadhav’s meet with his family was a trap laid down by Pakistan to force the former into confessing the crimes he did not commit. However, Kulbhushan Jadhav’s mother thwarted Pakistan’s plot.

On December 25, when Kulbhushan Jadhav’s mother and wife reached Islamabad to meet him, they were subjected to emotional and mental harassment right from the beginning. The media was allowed to fling insensitive questions at them, their religious faith was hurt in the name of “security”. But, Pakistan exhibited its coarseness when it did not allow the family to meet Kulbhushan in person and barred them from talking in their Mother Tongue-Marathi.

According to a Times of India report, Kulbhushan Jadhav greeted his mother with confessing that he was an Indian spy who worked with RAW. Strangely enough, he also confessed that he has engineered various terror plots across. However, his mother who was meeting her son after almost 21 months couldn’t believe the words coming from her son. She furiously interrupted him and asked why is he not telling the truth. She said, “Why are you telling all this? You were doing business in Iran from where you were abducted. You must tell the truth.”

Also Read: Standing against all odds Kausalya sees her father being awarded death sentence by Tamil Nadu court

The report mentioned that it was learnt from the sources that Pakistan has hatched the plot to use Jadhav’s statement as his confession. It is evident from the proofs that Kulbhushan and his family was made to sit on either sides of a glass wall. They were only allowed to communicate through intercom and in English. Jadhav’s mother after returning to India also told that it Kulbhushan was visibly under stress and the atmosphere was intimidating.

The sources also told the daily that part of Jadhav’s alleged “Confession” were handed to him by Pakistan Army and ISI. However, Jadhav’s mother interrupted which might have foiled pakistan’s plan to use the video recording of Jadhav’s statement in ICJ.

Also Read: Pakistan insults India-calls it “Chhotisi Baat”

The Ministry of External Affairs still believes that Pakistan possibly play a doctored version Kulbhushan Jadhav and his mother’s conversation. But, it is also relieved by the fact that, his mother’s timely intervention may push Pakistan to do a cut-paste job.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj yesterday addressed the Parliament. She said, “We had suspected a notorious motive behind Pakistan retaining Jadhav’s wife’s shoe. And now, the Pakistani media channels are reporting that a metallic substance has been found in her shoe. If this is not the limit of coarseness, then what is?”

 However, Pakistan’s foreign ministry brushed aside the allegations as “baseless and twisted.”

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Plastic-free Maharashtra in 5 months, is it really possible?

Arti Ghargi

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After the deluge of 2005, the government was alarmed to the issue of plastic. But even the restrictions haven’t been able to curb the use of plastic. So while the decision to go completely plastic free is welcoming but is it really feasible for people of Maharashtra?

From a water bottle to straw, from electronics to cartons, from stationery to jars; one thing that is common in these is Plastic. There is no denying that plastic has become an integral part of our lives. Literally everything we use has some amount of plastic in it. It is the reality of today that the hazardous material is now omnipresent.

According to a study conducted in 2010-11, the amount of plastic in waste generated in Mumbai alone was 10%. In the following years it dipped to 9%. However, the use of plastic hasn’t reduced.

The Maharashtra Government has now planned to go completely plastic-free. After the deluge of 2005, the government was alarmed to the issue of plastic. But even the restrictions haven’t been able to curb the use of plastic.

So while the decision to go completely plastic free is welcoming but is it really feasible for people of Maharashtra?

We talked to environmentalist Vishal Tibrewal from My green society who has been working to spread awareness about going organic. “Going 100% plastic free is not really difficult task. We do not need to look outside to find any alternative to plastic. Instead of Plastic bottle we can use metal bottles. Rather than using plastic bags, we can use cloth bag,” Tibrewal said. He further added that people also need to participate in such steps taken by the state government and help the environment.

The state government’s effort to limit the use of plastic is not easy to enforce. In the past too, the state had tried to curb use of the plastic bags, but it did not succeed. For such a step to succeed, there ought to be a participation from the members of society. Awareness campaigns combined with penalties may help achieve the objective of reducing non-biodegradable waste

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What are we turning into?

Arti Ghargi

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While we expect the government to be in sanity and rationally view the situation, authorities in the position have escaped themselves of the responsibility to shun these threats.

The Padmavati movie has sparked a huge debate across the country (as it is being projected). While some fringe groups want to ban the movie for the sake of it, others are either supporting them or denouncing them.

The protest which started off as a move to save the culture and history has now hit the doors of politics. Days after Karni sena member threatens to cut Deepika’s nose, another leader from Haryana Suraj Pal Amu has announced a bounty of rupees 10 crore for whoever beheads the actress and the director of the movie Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

The fringe groups have been openly threatening the actress since her remarks in which she said, “No-one can stop this movie”.

I am compelled to wonder and ponder upon the thought- are these the traits of a civilized democracy? Or we are just a democracy of hurt sentiments?

What astonishes me more is the deafening silence of the authorities. Whether there was distortion of history in Padmavati or not is a question that will be answered later when the movie releases. But isn’t government too complicit in acts such as these which taint the democratic values of the country by not taking action against the fringe?

While we expect the government to be in sanity and rationally view the situation, authorities in the position have escaped themselves of the responsibility to shun these threats. Rather vocal Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani has talked on this matter only to counter Shashi Tharoor’s ‘valorous Maharaja’ remarks. UP deputy CM Keshav Mourya, Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje have declared that unless the cuts are made to the film, it won’t be allowed to screen. Joining their tune is Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh.

What gives the power to the fringe to make such threat? People who are fighting for the honour of historical character of woman are threatening to behead a woman who spoke her mind out. Isn’t it an irony? The concern for a woman’s honour comes with convenience. A historical figure is more cared for than today’s woman.

It is the absurdity of the democracy when threats and graphic violent opposition is passed off as Freedom of Expression. The country which is the largest democracy of the world unfortunately fits in the narrative well.

The fringe may want to display its power by intimidating the soft targets, while the exploitative silence of the authorities continues.  Which makes me wonder, what are we, the democratic people turning into?

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