After failing to get any response from the Centre, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) President Kirpal Singh Badungar has now approached Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh for relief from paying GST on the purchase of materials to run the free community kitchen or langar at the Golden Temple.
Calling the Centre’s attitude unfortunate, Badungar has requested the state government to exempt SGPC from paying GST. SGPC was enjoying exemption from paying taxes on the purchase of material before the implementation of GST. Now, the apex body of Sikhs is fearing a financial burden of an additional Rs 10 crore on its annual budget.
Badungar has written to the Congress government in the state after the Union government didn’t respond to SGPC’s repeated requests seeking exemption from paying GST.
Even SAD’s Bathinda MP and Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s letter faild to draw the attention of the Union finance minister. Badungar does not enjoy good relations with the Congress government. Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee and the CM himself had indulged in a war of words with Badungar on various issues during the first four months of the Congress government in the state. Now, Badungar has decided to forget the differences and write a letter to the Punjab CM.
In his letter to the Captain, Badungar writes, “Punjab government first issued a notification in 2005 and then in 2008, to exempt SGPC from paying taxes under the existing system. Decision was taken in view of humanitarian services provided by SGPC at large scale. These exemptions came to an end with the implementation of GST. Now, the state government has the power to exempt SGPC from paying state GST. State government must continue old exemptions under the new GST system so that we can continue our services without extra financial burden.”
Badungar said, “Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal has repeatedly said that Punjab would benefit from the implementation of GST. So, we consulted our financial experts and we have been suggested that the Punjab government can also provide us relief on state GST. So, we have written to the Punjab government to exempt us from paying state GST.”
On failing to get a response from the Centre, Badungar said, “It is unfortunate. We have a democratic system and we have used all medium to raise our voice with the Prime Minister and the finance minister. But, we have got no response so far. Earlier, we had written to President Pranab Mukherjee on some other issues. The President was quick to respond. But, we have got no response from the PM and FM on the GST issue.”
“It is the purpose of Mann Ki Baat that each individual can reach the PMO with their views. We have reached the PM directly. It is the responsibility of the Union government to respond,” he said.