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Why this Dussehra, effigies of Ravana have become shorter and costlier?
On the auspicious day of Vijayadashami, which is also known as Dussehra, the effigies of demon king Ravana along with his son Meghnad and brother Kumbhkarna are traditionally consigned to flames for celebrating the festival in various parts of India.

But, this Dussehra, the GST (Goods and Services Tax) which was introduced this year in July, has drastically belittled the overall stature of the effigies.

According to a report, the size of effigies have been shortened by up to 20 feet as the cost of raw materials involved in making the effigies has gone up, after the implementation of GST in the country.

"The cost of raw materials such as firecrackers, cardboard, clothes, bamboo, paint and special paper which we use in making the effigies has gone up significantly after introduction of GST. That is why, we have had to resort to cutting the height of the effigies in order to make them within the amount given to us," said Shambhu Baba, an effigy maker. 

Talking about the impact of the GST on his business, Shambhu said that the uneconomical transportation charges have also hit the prices of the effigies as the commercial activities related to transporting goods had increased significantly after introduction of GST.

Leela Kandpal, the General Secretary of the Ramleela committee in Haldwani, told the Times of India, "We have to accomplish many tasks in our allocated budget. Due to spike in costs, effigy artists have decided to cut the height of the effigy short without compromising on their grandeur." 

According to an effigy-making professional, at least 200 sarees are used in making the effigies, and their prices too have shot up this year.

"Similarly, we bought 600 kgs wheat flour for making glue at Rs 21 per kg. It was available for Rs 16 per kg last year," an effigy maker said.

Many experts agreed that GST had affected a lot of businesses including the effigies-making business too. According to the report, there was no taxation on the cloth items earlier, but now it is taxable at 5 per cent GST rate.

Similarly, paper attracted 5.5 per cent Value added Tax (VAT) earlier, which has now been replaced by GST ranging from 12 per cent to 18 per cent. The GST on paint too has gone up from 5.5 per cent (VAT) to 28 per cent now, as it has been classified into the highest tax rate slab of the GST.

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