The move had brought our everyday lives to a standstill. But in hindsight, I feel it was a blessing in disguise for me. The move helped me switch to digital money. I started electronic payment facility in my shop. Now about 50 percent of my customers prefer e-payment over cash. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) also came with its own package of initial hiccups. Once we understood the tax slabs, things got easier for us and helped us in our business.
Earlier a service tax of 12 percent was charged on all footwear products. Now, goods up to Rs 500 come under a tax slab of 5 percent; and footwear above costing Rs 500 come under the 12 percent bracket. My shop is frequented more by people from lower middle and middle class. And they prefer buying products that are cheaper and priced below Rs 500. So a good chunk of sale in my shop is of products priced below Rs 500 and the benefit of a lower GST of 5 percent is thus, passed on to the customers.
There is also an additional benefit – we also make it a point to inform our high-end customers (who purchase goods priced over Rs 500) about the tax slab and the benefit of buying a product worth Rs 500 or less. Some of them happily agree and buy a pair of slippers or sandals in addition to what they have already bought.
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The Modi government has also been successful in implementing the Swachha Bharat campaign. My shop is located in a busy market with all kind of shops such as, eateries, groceries, wholesale, etc. Earlier there was no provision for dumping garbage. Heaps of garbage would pile up right at the entrance of the market. Also an open nallah (sewage canal) passing adjacent to the market used to drive away customers. Now you can see these dustbins — both for wet and dry waste installed around the market.
Representatives from the municipality too, visit us on a regular basis to make sure the market is cleaned up properly. I would give Modi, eight out of 10 marks for the Swachha Bharat campaign. Modi should be given another term since I do not see a better candidate to fit the bill.