Mumbai: There was a time when traders would wait for Diwali season so as to earn profit which will make them survive for rest of the year. However, first because of the note ban and now the imposition of Goods and Service Tax (GST), the market is under such a crisis that most of the traders are feeling them in a sinking ship.
According to a survey conducted by NDTV, a huge number of traders say sales this Diwali season is down by up to 50% and there is no chance that the market will take a positive turn.
Diwali this year will be celebrated on October 18, 19, 20 and 21.
Quoting Viren Shah of Mumbai's Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association said the NDTV survey found that sales have dropped 50% in the country's biggest financial hub.
The survey also asked respondents what they felt were the reasons. 100% said GST was responsible whereas about a third said that the Demonetisation's impacts have lingered on and continue to affect trade.
According to Indian express, the shopkeepers at Mumbai's Crawford Market also say they are facing a hit, and some say, the reason for their losses is GST.
Crawford Market being a wholesale market has a lot of gift shops that sell toys, mugs, greeting cards, clay lamps, lanterns, mementos, statues and photo frames that are in great demand during the festive season.
The GST rates for gift items are 0 per cent for clay products, 5 per cent for ceramic products, 12 per cent for paper based products, 18 per cent for pens, envelopes, etc and 28 per cent for base metal and imported items.
''Most gift hampers are under the 18 or 28 per cent GST slabs, which make them too expensive. As a result, business has gone down by over 50 per cent this year'', Viren Shah said.
Thirty-five-year-old Sadam, a gift item seller, said, ''The GST has hampered our sales by 50 per cent. This, despite being a festive season, there is no improvement in sales.''
Mahesh Vyas, Director of the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) said consumer sentiment has taken a beating. CMIE's latest data about the state of the economy says that consumer sentiment index has decreased by 4% since July and the unemployment level is at an 11-month high of 8.2%.
Prime Minister Modi had announced demonetisation on November 08, 2016 after a successful Diwali season. The nation was shocked by his sudden decision.
Later reports showed that the note ban miserably failed in brining the results Prime Minister Modi had desired. In fact RBI in it's latest report said more than 99% of banned currency note were deposited in banks.
The RBI report prompted senior BJP leader Arun Shorie saying that the demonetisation was a biggest scam of money laundering.