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Know all about the Dharohar – the National Museum of Customs and GST
Museums are the best storehouses when it comes to preserving one’s culture, tradition, history, and entity. The Ministry of Finance was celebrating a week-long Iconic Week to honour the freedom movement of India. As part of the celebration, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman inaugurated Dharohar, the National Museum of Customs and GST in Goa.
The Finance Minister removed the golden sand from single rock art installed at the centuries old heritage building in which the museum is housed while dedicating the museum to the nation. The Museum will provide an opportunity to peep into the working of the Department over the years.
.. Housed in Panaji’s famous Blue Building on the banks of River Mandovi, Dharohar is a two-storey building. During the period of Portuguese rule in Goa, it was known as Alfandega, and has been standing at this place for more than 400 years.
Dharohar, a first-of-its-kind museum, showcases not only the artefacts seized by Indian Customs across the country but also depicts basic customs procedures for the knowledge of general public. Among the artefacts, the notable ones include the handwritten manuscript of Ain-i-Akbari, replica of Amin pillars, seized metal and stone artefacts, ivory items, and wildlife items.
There are eight galleries in ‘Dharohar’, namely – Introductory gallery, History of Taxation Gallery, Guardians of our economic frontiers gallery, Guardians of our Art & Heritage, Guardians of Flora & Fauna, Custodians of our social well-being, Journey of Indirect taxes –Salt Tax to GST and the GST gallery.
The tour de force of Dharohar museum is a unique ‘Battle of Wits’ gallery which showcases the cerebral battle between the smugglers and the Customs officers. It contains chronicled seizures of antique coins, statues, endangered wildlife, weapons and narcotics.
Moreover, an e-catalog of the Museum contains high-resolution pictures of the various items displayed in the museum along with relevant information.
The most recent addition is in the form of the GST gallery that showcases the journey of making of Goods and Services Tax, the most historical Indirect taxation reform of New India. The Gallery chronicles various stages and processes that paved the way for the introduction of reformed unified indirect taxation in the form of GST on July 1, 2017, beginning with the Atal Behari Vajpayee Government initiating discussions on GST in 2000.
In the words of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is “a path-breaking legislation for New India”. This taxation system was rolled out at midnight of July 1, 2017 in a ceremony held in the Central Hall of Parliament. In March 2022, there was a record GST collection of Rs 1.42 lakh crore. The revenue for March 2022 was 15% higher than the GST revenues in March 2021 and 46% higher than the GST revenues in March 2020.
The Museum and the e-catalog would be beneficial not only to the visitors but also to the scholars of archaeology and ancient history. Further, it will be an important addition to the Tourism Map of India and a must-see attraction in Goa.