Impact of GST on Indian Exhibition Industry


Goods and Services Tax (GST) is one of the biggest indirect tax reforms, providing a uniform and simplified way of Indirect taxation in India. GST replaced a number of other taxes like VAT, CST, Service tax, CAD, SAD, Excise, Entry tax, Purchase tax etc. As per the final proposed GST Bill, a four-tier structure has been designed which has set 5 per cent, 12 per cent, 18 per cent and 28 per cent has been set, where tax will be levied at multiple rates ranging from 0 to 28 per cent.

Our Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing the house commented on GST saying, “The launch of GST sets path for India’s future journey. At the midnight hour, we are all set to decide the future journey of this country. In some time from now, the country will start a new journey, the 1.25 billion people of this country are witness to this historic event. The process of coming up with GST is not about econo

mics alone, the entire process is testimony to our belief of cooperative federalism.”

India’s Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley stated, “Tax net has expanded. The country’s market has been integrated. Inspector raj is over. The tax burden on the masses has gone down. It is a win-win situation for all”.

While economy’s one of the most challenging reforms has been implemented, no industry has remained untouched from its impact. Talking about an industry which is often addressed as the “engine of economic growth”, the implementation of GST is ought to have a visible impact here too. While the industry is still in the process of adapting to this brand new bill, here are some members of the industry sharing their take on GST and its impact:


“After Independence of India, this perhaps is one of the most significant decisions taken by the Indian Government in the direction of ‘one nation – one tax’. I personally feel that the Exhibition Industry should welcome GST. There is a procedure for the implementation of GST under which organisers who are conducting shows in multiple states would have to register in each state and one of the requirements for registration is to have a local office there. I feel that people are finding out ways for this too by setting up their local offices and we as venue operators are welcoming them to open their offices at our complex.” – Mr. Rakesh Kumar, Executive Director – EPCH & Chairman – IEML


“GST has been a very significant financial reform in the economic system of our country. Given how extensive this new reform is, it was certain to attract some concerns. We need to give the economy some time to adjust to the new norms. Six months down the line, the gradual benefits of GST will start to trickle in. It includes transforming the whole gamut of indirect taxes such as VAT, Service Tax, central excise tax, etc into one unified tax. It is not only going to simplify taxation norms but will also bring in transparency across sectors in the months and years to come. With GST expected to have a considerable impact across all sectors, the boost to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) will also be significant.  An increase in productivity and efficiency will also further enhance India’s position as a leading market for FDI investments.

With GST, B2B commerce which is encouraged through our exhibitions would result in a more efficient supply chain where tax credits flow seamlessly and outside state sales and purchases are not penalized”. – Mr. Yogesh Mudras, Managing Director, UBM India


“It’s too early to highlight any difficulties at this stage. Only time will tell. However one clause is surely pretty challenging in the up-coming GST system and it’s that one needs to file 37 annual returns per state registration. Companies like us who work pan India basis, it shall be an up-hill task to get ourselves registered in various states & then file 37 annual returns per stage. In addition to this, the way bill system, which is scheduled to come from October 1st, looks like even more challenging for exhibition industry”. – Mr. Vipul Agarwal – Expro Events & Exhibit


“We wanted GST to get out of myriad taxes across the country. It was Industry’s demand. The present form of GST is very complicated. Four slabs, three types of taxes, and since it’s a destination based tax, thirty seven destinations across India. We are still figuring out the tax structure and the complications. This will definitely increase paper work tremendously for our companies who do exhibitions and events in many states. Think of a company who has done work in six states in one financial year will have to file two hundred and twenty two returns. That is too much for anyone.

On the other hand, it has saved us from multiple taxes where the demarcations between taxes were vague. Entry barriers to states are over. These are the big reliefs. Hopefully, the mysteries of the GST will unravel gradually and we will all be benefitted. It is too early to comment on the impact of GST on our business though.”  – Mr. N Binu, Managing Director, Meroform (India) Pvt. Ltd.

“This is my personal opinion though I do not entirely understand GST, we would earlier not get set of on VAT because of us being under service tax. We are sincere tax payers, my perception of GST is that it’s going to make it difficult for people to deal in cash.
The Complication of GST on account of your event being in another state needs to be resolved, it is discouraging the organisers to do multi city shows. I see the Multi state GST as a challenge. I foresee that in the immediate future some of the services will get expensive on account of difficulty in doing car business. At the same time I must say it’s levelling the playing field for sincere tax paying service providers against the one who operates in cash and not paying the taxes”. – Mr. Mukund Rao – Interface Data & Design

Overall sentiment in the industry is not good at this time. – Mr. MB Naqvi, Managing Director & CEO – Media Today

“GST will streamline the activities effectively. It will help in finding out loose bricks of the wall. Help us to rectify the mistakes proactively. Reduce the pendency within organisation. It will add speed in working.
Free movement of materials within India (reduce pressure from all concern entities). Ultimately exhibitors can work on the show planning properly and concentrate on their core competencies”. – Mr. Nitin Gupta, Deputy General Manager (Fairs & Events) – Orient Marine Lines Pvt. Ltd.

“Though it’s too early to comment on it we know that all our billings will now be 18% instead of 15% which makes it obvious to us that clients will bargain more”. – Mr. Dev – TFCI Events

“GST has affected the trade exhibitions as some of the big exhibitors have dropped out from our upcoming show owing to the  present state of confusion” – Mr. Prakash Shah, Chairman – GS Marketing (IIMTF)


“GST has a positive impact on logistics and warehousing industry as more transparency can be observed now” – Mr. Ankit Chugh, Manager Marketing – Reed Manch


Just like any other new government policy, Goods & Service Tax (GST) is also receiving applauds and criticisms from the people. Trusting on the government’s belief that the new bill will catalyse the economic growth and supporting the intention of ‘one nation – one tax’, the exhibition industry has actively started implementing the GST laws in its working already.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here