Mumbai. Announcement of a hike in service tax in this year’s union budget has sent shock-waves throughout the consumer ecosystem of the country. This hike is causing unpredictable changes in consumer behavior and strange incidents are being reported throughout the nation.
One such incident took place last night when Pankaj Kulkarni, a resident of Matunga and a car mechanic by profession, created huge ruckus at a local restaurant for opting out of paying service tax.
According to sources, approximately ten minutes after ordering food, Kulkarni barged into the restaurant kitchen and demanded that he himself would bring his food to his table. Not being used to of such situation, the restaurant staff, politely explained him that food would be served directly to his table and asked him to relax. However, he was in different mood and called restaurant manager. He then disclosed his intention to the manager of not paying even a single penny for service charge or service tax.
“Mr Kulkarni gave a warning to waiters not to touch even his plates or he would call the cops. We calmed down him by giving an assurance not being charged for service charge or tax. He then had his meal in peace,” the hotel manager told Faking News.
“We somehow convinced him not to wash the dishes as we feared he may charge us service tax instead of paying us,” the manager added.
Mr. Kulkarni confirmed the developments to our reporter, “Sir, I eat all the meals outside, everyday. I consume South Indian food, North Indian, Chinese, Mughlai all kinds, but I am no foodie. I don’t love to eat out, it’s a majboori (compulsion). I’m unmarried and can only afford to live in a one RK with no kitchen facility. Upon that, my work hours are crazy.”
“When I eat food worth a total of 5000 rupees outside, in a month, I am paying 10% service charge, 14% service tax and 14.5% VAT. Thus I end up paying some 1700 rupees in taxes; THAT is a lot! This amount used to be my only savings earlier. Hence from now on, whenever I go to a restaurant, I want no services at all, which will save me paying service tax. I want food and not service,” he said.
“Heck I will even clean my table myself, after I am done. If some food has fallen on the floor I can do a pochha (mop) there. If they choose to classify cleaning utensils as ‘after sales service’ then I am ready to eat in paper plates. With all these measures, I can at least save those unnecessary service related charges and taxes,” a livid Mr. Kulkarni disclosed his future plans.
While people such as Mr. Kulkarni are altering their lifestyle to cope up with increased tax, veteran expert on economics and public Policy Dr. P. Chaddha has a different take.
“The repercussions of increased service tax will most likely be positive for this country. People won’t want the chhole bhature vendor to charge 4 rupees extra for squeezing an additional slice of lemon on their onions. They will do that themselves. A positive lifestyle change. People who can’t buy expensive food will start observing more and more fasts, again a healthy lifestyle change. All in all the whole population will reduce its services consumption and get into a habit of doing things on its own. While the service sector will be hurt to an acceptably limited extent, this presents a huge opportunity for self-help book writers and DIY: do-it-yourself kind of businesses, who can sell tools to people to take the charge of their own destiny,” Dr. Chaddha explained.