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GST on sports goods: NRAI approaches FM

PTI New Delhi | Updated on January 09, 2018 Published on August 09, 2017
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Apprehensions following the imposition of GST on sports equipment has forced the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) to “approach” the finance ministry and take up the cudgels on behalf of a very concerned shooting community.

The NRAI assured that it will “do all it can” to ensure the shooters are not affected.

The inclusion of sports goods under the higher tax slabs of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) has left many shooters worried about the high cost of procuring equipment from abroad. Renowned pistol exponent Jaspal Rana has been the most vocal in expressing concerns.

NRAI President Raninder Singh told PTI, “We have taken it up officially with the Finance Ministry and are hopeful of an early resolution to the issue. NRAI will do everything in its power to ensure that the athletes and the sport are not adversely affected.”

As someone who is currently coaching the Indian junior pistol team, the 41year-old Rana empathises with the plight of his aspiring wards and their anxious parents. “Imposing GST on sports goods will act as an obstacle, especially to those who are financially weak. Instead of encouraging the athletes who can bring glory to the country, you are imposing an additional unnecessary burden of 18-28 per cent of GST on sports equipment,” he said.

Elaborating on the problems, he said, “Parents of aspiring shooters coming from not-so well-to-do families buy equipment after taking loans from banks or borrow money, just imagine what will they do now. These equipment are not produced in India, they have to be imported, so how will an athlete from a poor family manage?”

Rana, a multiple-time gold medallist at the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and several other international tournaments, was also critical of the national federation. When told that NRAI Senior Vice-President and MP Kalikesh Narain Singh Deo raised the issue in the Parliament recently, Rana wondered what were they doing before GST was officially imposed.

“I don’t see any step being taken in this regard by the federation or the government. About the problems faced by the sportsman till now, none from the government or federation has expressed concern on the social media or any other platform,” he said.

Steep increase

Under Rana, the junior shooters gave a good account of themselves in the recent world championships at Munich, finishing second overall. “We had a good platform and the government’s policy on import till now was liberal. But this could be a huge setback if the government doesn’t review its tax policy,” he said.

The Padma Shri went on, “Whatever we have achieved in our time was without much support from the government. It is a pity that the government wants to impose GST on this. I can’t understand how much profit can they earn from it. 100 crore, 200 crore, can they afford an Olympic medal after saving this amount?”

Under the new policy, 28 per cent tax will be levied on pistols and revolvers while rifles, shotguns and ammunition are in the 18 per cent tax slab. The rest of the equipment is in the 12 per cent slab. Shooting equipment was exempt from any tax before GST came into the picture.

“As I have already spoken on the day of the NRAI elections held recently, 18 per cent GST imposed on all imports including duty free imports will definitely have an adverse impact on the shooting sport,” said the NRAI President Singh.

“All world-class equipment needed in the sport, needs to be imported and were till now part of the customs duty free list. A steep imposition of 18 per cent is sure to affect a majority of athletes who are vying to bring glory to the country,” he elaborated.

Weapons and equipments used in shooting sports are imported from countries such as Germany, Italy and UK.

Published on August 09, 2017
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