Rakhi sellers are feeling the pinch of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) this year, as prices have gone up while customer interest has gone down. With a couple of days till raksha bandhan, sales have still not picked up.
The profits are also lower than last year, said shopkeepers. Jainesh Davi, a shopkeeper at Dadar who sets up a rakhi stall every year, said, "With GST, the cost of raw materials has gone up. So, even the price of rachis, particularly those made with gems and with fancy packaging, has gone up."
"These rakhis are made just one month prior to the festival, hence the prices are higher. Rakhis that were produced earlier on have no change in price," he added.
Another seller, Sanjiv Jain, the proprietor of Laxmi beauty corner in Dadar market, said, "Since the GST was levied, consumers are anyway showing less interest in spending. We were expecting some boost in the market during the festive season, but the footfall is still 25% less."
Shops selling items of prayer (pooja samagri) have also been hit by GST, despite this being the peak season for them. "Usually, by this time, people start shopping for the festivals. But this time, the crowd is less. I think the market will take more time to stabilise," said Sanjay Chheda, owner of Vinayak Agarbatti in Dadar.
Chheda added, "Since GST was imposed on raw materials, we have increased prices by 18% on new products."
Customers were also surprised by the rise in prices all around. "We have been in the market for nearly an hour, but have hardly bought anything, as the shopkeepers have raised all prices in name of GST," said Renuka Agre, a resident of Ghatkopar.
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