<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nileema Kulkarni didn’t remember that the newly lowered Goods and Services (GST) tax rate for restaurants was to be effective from Wednesday. “It’s only when the bill came that I realised that I was charged five per cent instead of 18 per cent,” said Kulkarni, who had just stepped out from her office in Nariman Point for lunch.Many like Kulkarni were happy that their food expenses did not pinch their pockets as much until a day before.”People like me who work have a certain budget in which we manage our expenses. With the new GST rate, it will certainly help save money,” said Kulkarni.She is not the only one. Kimaya Bhende, who regularly visits restaurants and coffee shops to discuss business dealing with her clients said that ever since the new GST rates had kicked in, “It was like having food with the government.””Though the effective increase in taxes after Value Added Tax (VAT) and Service Tax was over four per cent in some restaurants, I did feel the pinch of the 18 per cent. Over a period of time, it was like the profit I was earning from business dealings was less than the 18 per cent tax iI was paying. The reduction of 13 per cent is a welcome move,” she added.Restaurateurs who too were happy that the tax rate had reduced said that it will reflect in their balance sheets over a period of time. “Today is only the first day. People are not spending as much as they used to. With the reduction in tax, people can spend freely,” said Satish Shanbagh, Supervisor at Samrat restaurant near Churchgate station.