Even stationery items not spared from GST
Dated NEW VIJAYAWADA, September 22, 2017
VIJAYAWADA: GST blues is still looming large over various sectors and the education sector is one that is yet to get settled. School supplies, right from notebooks to craft stationery, has been levied 12-18 per cent after the implementation of the new tax regime. Earlier the same products used to be taxed at 5 per cent but post-GST, they have been placed in 12 to 18 per cent tax bracket. Wholesale merchants are little worried about the impact on sales, as a majority of the book suppliers are contemplating to increase the cost of books. Interestingly, it is not the end products which are being taxed but the components that go into making the products that are being taxed, thereby increasing the cost of the end product.
Speaking to Express, N Raghuram, a wholesale dealer of school laboratory apparatus said, “Usually, the demand for laboratory apparatus is quite low. Post GST, it was moved to the 18 percent tax slab from the existing 5 percent. The price of glassware, like test tubes, pipettes have gone up by 10-12 percent. Earlier a single test tube used to cost `20-`30. Now, the same piece is being sold at `35. We have been burdened with the input stocks, which adds up more tax.”In case of notebooks, the tax has been increased to 12 percent from the existing 5 per cent. Adding to this, the GST on paper has also increased to 12 per cent, which resulted in the hike in the prices.
Though the small local distributors increased the prices already, the companies like ITC classmate, Naveen etc are yet to increase the prices and are on their way of updating the new prices.
In fact, the printing cost of the cover page of notebooks has also doubled. GST on inks and print colours has gone up to 18 per cent. The wholesalers who have input stocks faced additional tax burden.
“Since the academic year starts from June, we usually have enough stocks. As GST rolled out from July, the remaining stocks were taxed as per the new tax slab. Unlike the sale of clothes, we cannot put the stocks on discount. Now, it is we who have to bear the additional cost of the leftover items,” said T Venkat Rao, owner of Jayalakshmi Book depot in Vijayawada.
Coming to the stationary, right from ballpoint pens to fountain pens, markers and other material have been put in the 18 per cent tax bracket. Office files, printer inks, and even the prices of colours have gone up thanks to GST. At present, the marker pens are being sold at `50 which was `45 earlier. Similarly, the lamination boards, cardboards prices increased by `50-150 depending on the quality.
Retail bookstalls are taking advantage of this situation and selling the non-MRP products like charts, cardboards, thermocol sheets etc at high prices to make up for their input stock losses. Students and parents, who purchase stationery required for project works, are being victimised.