ART and GST. Dancers, Musicians and Actors exempted from GST- why not Artists?

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Recently GST Council, Government of India has announced the list of articles on which GST has been fixed.  It is unthinkable and undesirable that GST( 12%) has been fixed on items like artists  creative works like, painting,  drawing,  sculpture, engravings, prints etc.   Under the previous Excise Laws there was no Excise Duty on Handicrafts which covers Art & Craft in various forms, under notification No.

17/2011 dated 01.03.2011.Even all the items of Handicrafts including Art and paintings were placed under schedule 1 of VAT laws in various States which covers exempted goods. More over in the recent announcement   all other performing  artists,  like Dancers, Musicians, Actors and even Sports persons have been exempted  from  GST; so why not also Artists?

 Art work is not an industrial product or a consumable good. It is an intellectual property created individually by an artist. Finally artists contribute and enrich our art and culture of this country for which we are proud. The creation of art works like painting, drawing or sculpture solely depend on an individual artist's talent and hard work. Hence I request the GST Council, and its Chairman, the Honourable Minister of Finance, Government of India, to personally look into this matter and exempt  the GST fixed on art works and give some dignity to the artists and painters of India by not putting  them in the category  of producers of regular mercantile goods.

 The Indian art market is in fact a small one, languishing between Rs.500 to 1000 crores for last one decade and not growing.  Demonetisation has badly affected the market and several art galleries have been closed down.  The fact is so called art market  is actually  running on the  art works of the past and dead artists like Amrita Sher Gill, Husain, Sabavala, Tyeb Mehta, Raza, Suza, Gaitonde, Rabindranath, Jamini Roy, KG Subramanyan and similar  others, probably with  90% share in the art market while  the present living practising  artists, who are supposed to pay GST, have only 10 % share (as they do not claim high price), which will  be only Rs. 50 to 100 crores, which is too little  an amount  for a country like India and surely a negligible  amount  to consider for exemption  of GST on contemporary   working   artists creative works.

 In fact GST will be a discouragement for all budding artists who are struggling  to sell their works.  It is a fact that an young artist needs 30 to 40 years to establish himself... and their ratio is not more than 1% of the practising aspiring artists. GST has made all the practising artists confused and they do not really know what to do, as artists are not organised traders and they do not know the jargon of GST formalities, even depositing GST report every month without   having any sale is also a matter of unnecessary botheration. They are also worried as canvas, paints and other art materials are put under various rates of GST including framing which have 28% GST on it.  

In this context I would like to bring few information what government of China has done for their artist for development and to encouragement.

They have abolished, as per my knowledge, all taxes on artists for 10 years. They are also establishing 500 art museums throughout   the China.  China's present Art market is 100 times more than India at Rs.1,00,000 crore. Their idea is to encourage the practising artists, their development   and to nurture the culture of art.  Since 1989 they have established hundreds of auction houses in different cities of china to revamp the art market.  On the other hand we find in India it is just opposite  and not only discouraging  to the artist  community  and art market of India but, I think, such discouragement have no sense of good economy at the end.

 Finally I also like to request the Government  of India/  Department  of Finance to properly  review and ( 1) abolish  10% import  duty  on Indian art  and  (2)  to abolish 'Art and Antiquity  Act of 1972'  to  bring transparency   to  the art Trader besides (3) total  exemption  of GST on art for the contemporary   working  artists, handicrafts and folk/tribal arts.

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