Spare classical music concerts from GST, event organisers request Arun Jaitley

Nov 10, 2017, 18:33 IST | Chaitraly Deshmukh

Organisers of the 65th Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Mahotsav request Union Finance Minister

Ahead of the 23rd meeting of the GST Council scheduled today in Guwahati, Assam, organisers of the 65th Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Mahotsav, one of the most awaited classical music festivals of the country to be held between December 13 and 17, have requested the Centre to exempt the concerts of Hindustani classical music from GST. Sources confirmed that members of the organisation Arya Sangeet Prasarak Mandal have submitted a formal request in this regard to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Pic/ PTI

Pandit Bhimsen Joshi's son Shrinivas Joshi, who is the executive president of this organisation, met BJP national vice-president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe to put forth their plea. Shrinivas said, "Currently, about 28 per cent GST is charged on tickets above R250. It's causing classical music concert organisers a lot of trouble because the ticket prices are going up tremendously. Going forward, the hike in ticket prices will create more problems in preserving and popularising the traditional Indian classical music, so, we are seeking GST exemption for these concerts. We have approached the government on this issue. Sahasrabuddhe has assured us that he will take up this matter with Arun Jaitley. State Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar has also assured us help."

Speaking about the impact of the price hike, Shrinivas added, "Classical music concerts, unlike Bollywood shows or cricket events, do not attract huge crowds. In order to promote Indian classical music, GST should be exempt from concerts."

Noted members from the music fraternity are supporting this plea. "Besides vocalists Prabha Atre, Begum Parveen Sultana and Ulhas Kashalkar, santoor player Shiv Kumar Sharma, flautist Hariprasad Chaurasia, violinist L Subramaniam and various other artistes vowed support to our cause."

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