The incense sticks you offer to the gods will now cost more. Ahead of the implementation of the all-encompassing Goods and Services tax on July 1, the Agarbathi Manufacturers’ Association has urged the government to withdraw the tax imposed on incense sticks.

Speaking to media persons in Bengaluru, Indian Agarbathi Manufacturers’ Association president Sarath Babu said the 12% GST on agarbathi would affect the industry gravely. 

Sandesh JG, a small scale manufacturer, told Team Asianet, “The increase in the percentage will add to the price of the incense sticks. This will be collected from the customers. The customer will not stop buying agarbathis. But they will opt for a brand that might be of a lower quality. If the brand that they pay for now costs Rs 100, they will find an alternate that will cost the same after GST is added to the cost of the product.”

Currently, 5.5% tax is charged on agarbathis under section 6 of the third schedule in KVAT  in Karnataka. Several states charge no taxes on agarbathis.

Sachin Jain, a chartered accountant, said, “The items are taxed twice under VAT. The GST will be imposed only once. The agarbathi rates in Karnataka will only increase marginally. However, since agabathis are exempted from tax in other states, the consumers will be hit harder in those states.”

Sarath Babu argues that other puja items enjoy 0% tax and the least the government could do was to bring agarbathis under the 5% tax bracket.