August 8, 2017 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Amritsar: After the GST council meeting concluded on Saturday without an concrete decision taken on Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee’s (SGPC) plea to exempt the purchases of langar and prashad items out of the ambit of taxation, the gurudwara management body is contemplating protests against the Centre.
Besides SGPC president Kirpal Singh Badungar, various politicians too, had communicated with finance minister Arun Jaitley, seeking GST waiver for the SGPC.
Whilst interacting with the media SGPC Chief Kirpal Singh Badungar stated there were indications that the GST Council would waive off the tax but the issue was not even discussed in the meeting. He said the SGPC would take up this matter at the next meeting of its executive and chalk out detailed plan to hold protests against the Union government.
“The SGPC anticipates an additional tax burden of Rs 10 crore per annum for running its langar sewa, with further Rs 3 crore tax levy on langars being run at various charity institutions such as Pingalwaras,” he adds.
Repeated pleas before Indian Prime Minister & Finance Minister had failed to yield desired results. The Union government was working against the hopes and aspirations of the Sikh community, Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar asserted.
As reported by the media sources the SGPC chief in his letters had requested that it be granted the GST exemption on langar purchases the way it was granted an exemption from the VAT. He said under previous tax regime all langar items purchased at Sri Akal Takht Sahib, Sri Amritsar Sahib, Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, Shri Anandpur Sahib and Takht Sri Damdama Sahib were exempted from VAT.
It is interesting to note here that while the langar and prashad purchases that is used to feed the needy on daily bases in all the SGPC managed Gurudwaras are taxed by the central government, whereas all the purchase for prashad or other purchases done by Hindu Religious Institutions or Hindu Temple Boards are totally exempted from the ambit of GST.
Furthermore, he added that the SGPC was involved in spreading the message of universal brotherhood, tolerance and respect for other religions and was engaged in noble and charitable deeds and thus no tax should be imposed on offering these services to the society.