GSt is Jazya on Langar : Badungar

By 18th July 2017 0 Comments


Questioning the logic of the central government and the GST Council imposing a tax on religious and social service done for common people, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which manages Sikh shrines in Punjab and runs a “langar” (free community kitchen) for hundreds of thousands of people on a daily basis, has made its displeasure known.SGPC president Kirpal Singh Badungar says that he is aghast at the “additional tax burden of nearly Rs 10 crore” (Rs 100 million) on the SGPC for running its free and voluntary “sewa” (community service).
“There is SGPC doing social and religious service for the betterment of the people. The (Narendra) Modi government and (Union Finance Minister) Arun Jaitley have imposed this unwarranted tax burden on us. Jaitley is misleading the people by saying that there is no GST on ‘kara-prasad’ (sacrament). All ingredients like ghee, flour, sugar and other things that go into making the prasad have been taxed heavily,” Badungar pointed out.

Having written letters to the Finance Minister, the GST Council and now even to the Punjab government, the SGPC is seeking exemption for itself from the Goods and Services Tax (GST), saying that it is carrying out the sewa for the overall welfare of people — irrespective of religion, caste, colour, gender or creed.
“This is like taxing the religious sentiments of people. This means that the government wants to impose tax on the sewa that SGPC does. Can we compromise on the quality of our service? It is done 24×7. We cannot stop doing this,” a clearly upset Badungar said.He pointed out that the SGPC runs langars for hundreds of thousands of people, gives kara prasad, maintains ‘sarais’ (shelters for people to stay) and other gurdwara buildings, helps poor and needy children as well as students, and performs a host of other social activities.
“The SGPC will have to pay Rs 10 crore annually as tax under the GST. We want Jaitley and the Modi government to review its decision. We have written to the government again on this. We will hold a meeting of the SGPC on this issue,” said Badungar, who oversees its Rs 1,100-crore annual budget.
The SGPC runs the world’s largest community kitchen — feeding an average 50,000 devotees on week days and over 100,000 on weekends and festivals with freshly cooked food at the Harmandir Sahib, popularly known as the Golden Temple, in Amritsar.
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