Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal Saturday urged Finance Minister Arun Jaitely to exempt all purchases made by SGPC for ‘langar sewa’ under the GST. The food processing industries said the Punjab government had earlier exempted all items purchased for ‘langar’ (community kitchen) by SGPC at Darbar Sahab (Golden Temple) Amritsar, Sri Keshgarh Sahab at Anandpur and Talwandi Sabo Bathinda from VAT.
Harsimrat, who is SAD MP from Bathinda, said the SGPC spends around Rs 75 crore to purchase desi ghee, sugar and pulses.
“Now it will have to bear a financial burden of Rs 10 crore on these purchases as they come under the 5 to 18 per cent GST bracket,” Harsimrat said in a statement here. Requesting the Union finance minister to get these purchases exempted under the new GST regime, Badal said the concept of ‘langar’ was started centuries ago by Guru Nanak Dev to propagate the concept of equality in society regardless of religion, caste, colour and creed.
She said Golden Temple runs the world’s largest mega kitchen offering free meals throughout the year to lakhs of people who visit the holy shrine in Amritsar. Badal said SGPC president Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar had already made a representation and the same could be examined and ‘langar’ purchases could be exempted from GST so that Gurdwaras were not burdened for proving langar and serving humanity.
Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee is the apex religious body of the Sikhs.