Amritsar: SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal on Friday said the Centre had not been considering the issue of GST seriously. He said that the recent reports suggested that the Union Finance Ministry was hesitant to exempt items purchased for langar from GST as it could lead to tax evasion on normal purchasing and demand for tax exemption in construction of religious structures.
“Though we have approached the Finance Ministry on the issue a number of times earlier, we will again appeal for it. The Centre’s justification for not allowing the exemption was baseless. We have only sought exemption for purchases made for langar, which is served to devotees free of cost. We demand that on the pattern of the state government, the Centre should also forego its share in view of the Sikh tradition of langar,” reads a quote in The Tribune.
The previous SAD-BJP government had allowed VAT exemption on all items purchased for langar by the SGPC at Sri Darbar Sahib, Amritsar, Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib at Anandpur Sahib and Takht Damdama Sahib at Talwandi Sabo, Bathinda.
At present, the SAD alliance partner in Punjab and Centre, the BJP, has the majority in the GST Council and governing the Centre. Earlier, SGPC’s numerous pleas for GST exemption on langar purchases to the Finance Ministry, Home Ministry and the GST Council had fallen on deaf ears.