IS FITNESS OF INDIAN CITIZEN BE TERMED AS LUXURY OR NECESSITY ?

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The new Tax regulation of GST has brought a huge change in the Economy of India. Products that have been taxed at 28% are seeing 70% downfall in sales. Specially the Tax rate on Exercise and Fitness Products ie Articles of General Physical Exercise falling under HSN code chapter 95  is increased from 12% to whopping 28% which is more than Double sadly. This has resulted in Complete slowdown in Sales of Fitness products as citizens cannot afford to buy them anymore. This increase has Adversely affected citizens, businesses, employees, Senior Citizens, Manufacturing Industry, Make in India Movement, Khelega India khilega India movement and overall Health of Citizens of our Country.

Interestingly GST rates of Sports goods is kept at 12% but GST rate on Fitness Products is kept at 28%. Our appeal to the Hon'ble Prime Minister, Hon'ble Finance Minister and GST Council is to kindly give same status of GST rate of 12% to Sports and Fitness products as they are both connected with each other. Fitness equipments for physical exercise are integral part of any sportsperson fitness regime. Also, it’s increasingly becoming important for people at large as the Country grapples with lifestyle diseases resulting in urgent need to promote physical exercise. And it’s an established fact, regular workouts help in reducing stress, anxiety and depression and keep a host of diseases at bay. 

The ‘Harmonized System of Nomenclature’ or ‘HSN’ a multipurpose international product nomenclature developed by the World Customs Organization, used as basis for custom tariffs and trade statistics also treats fitness equipment as sporting goods/equipment world-wide. The specific HSN No. 9506 followed by around 200 countries in tandem with the Member Commitment Policy of WTO have incorporated the same in their local GST or VAT laws. In key countries like United Kingdom, Australia and United States of America which also follows HS nomenclature, sports goods include physical exercise equipment etc without any kind of differential treatment.

Impact of 28% GST Rate on Fitness products in Daily life of Indian Citizen-

1) How this 28% GST on Fitness equipments has affected Citizens- Our Country unfortunately does not have enough parks and footpaths for our citizens to fearlessly walk, jog on the road. Our senior citizens fear to walk on the road due to fear of accidents. Their solution was to purchase a home cycle or home treadmill which was available at cheap prices earlier as the tax was 12% but now it has become expensive due to GST at 28%. Upcoming Sports persons who need regular exercise to increase their performance cannot afford to buy Fitness products any more. 

2) Businesses- There are lacs of businesses small and mid size whose livelihood runs on Fitness industry. Products in these businesses are created keeping in mind how to improve health of our citizens ? Apart from just profits being a motive these businesses tirelessly work towards finding innovation, new inventions that can help citizens lead a healthier life. These small and mid size businesses are suffering today, they do not see clear path of growth and success with current GST rate of 28%. As a result, they have started reducing their expenses by staff retrenchment, pay cuts, shutdown of Retail shops, Clearing their inventories at zero margins.Is this what you want them to do, Sir ? I am sure , No.

3) How this has impacted the Employees- They are the worse affected. Since businesses are suffering due to high GST rate of 28%, employees are removed from their jobs or they are asked to do pay cuts for no fault of theirs. These employees have their fixed expenses that they have accumulated over the years and they cannot let go of them ? They cannot stop paying their fixed emi’s or their monthly rent or their monthly grocery expense or their child’s school fee or their elders medical bills ?

 Is the GST Council ready to bear the burden of this for them ?

When World over Sporting goods are Fitness products are given same treatment in taxation then why Fitness products are treated as Luxury in India, Sir ?

Should Fitness of Indian Citizen be termed as Luxury or Necessity? Please decide.

4) How this has impacted Senior Citizens- More and more people are dying on the road due to reckless driving. Does a son or daughter want this to happen with their father or mother ? Senior Citizens fear walking on roads as there is no proper foot path, they fear they will face an accident if they are not absolutely careful. Fearing this they decide to take walk at home rather than going outside. Earlier son could have thought of buying a treadmill for his father but now he cannot as Treadmill or home cycle has become expensive after 28% GST. This has resulted in deterioration of Health of our elders.

5) How this has affected Make In India Movement and Manufacturing Industry- There are lacs small scale factories in India who were involved in manufacturing these fitness products . These factory owners were very happy to see that our Country is supporting Make in India Movement. Now these factories are jobless as fitness industry is dying due to the high rate of GST at 28%. The workers from the factories are removed as factories do not have any orders from Businesses houses / traders ,etc.  Their dream of Make in India movement is shattered.

6) Khelega India Khilega India movement- Sir Khelne ke liye khiladi ko zarurat padegi fitness ki and for fitness they will need Fitness equipment which can help them compete at International level to win Gold medals for India. Can they afford to buy Fitness equipment at 28% GST ? The answer is No.

We as citizens of India have great faith and respect for our Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi , Hon’ble Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley and respected GST Council members and its our humble appeal and request to kindly relook at the GST rates for Products falling under HSN code 9506 ie Articles of General Physical Exercise and bring the GST rate at par and equal to that given to Sports Category ie 12% and oblige.

I appeal to all fellow Citizens and Countrymen to sign this petition and help us in making Fitness a NECESSITY FOR EVERY INDIAN AND NOT A LUXURY.

Thank You,

Hitesh Israni



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