The Arya Sangeet Prasarak Mandal, organisers of the iconic Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Mahotsav, have requested the Central government to exempt the concerts of Hindustani classical music from GST. The Mandal has submitted a formal request in this regard to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. "Currently, about 28 per cent GST is levied on the tickets that are above Rs 250. This is causing a lot of increase in ticket rates and thus is adversely affecting the concerts of classical music in the country. "Such an increase will create more problems in preserving and popularising the traditional Indian classical music. Thus, we are seeking GST exemption for such concerts," said Shrinivas Joshi, Executive President, Arya Sangeet Prasarak Mandal. Joshi, son of legendary vocalist late Bhimsen Joshi, said the mandal had approached BJP national vice president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe who has assured them to take up the matter with Jaitley. "State Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar has also assured us to take it up with central finance ministry.
Thus, we are indeed very thankful to them. We hope that the Finance Ministry takes a positive step and helps ease burden of GST on concerts of Indian classical music," he added. Joshi said noted vocalists Prabha Atre, Begam Parveen Sultana, Ulhas Kashalkar, besides santoor player Shiv Kumar Sharma, flautist Hariprasad Chaurasia, violinist L. Subramaniam and various artists have supported the GST exemption demand. The 65th Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Mahotsav, an annual extravaganza for connoisseurs of classical music, is scheduled to take place between December 13 and 17. Last year due to demonetisation, the season ticket rate was reduced from Rs 350 to Rs 300.