Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has demanded a GST exemption on langars and the prasad that is distributed at various religious places, including temples. According to a PTI report, Singh has written a letter to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley reminding him that gurdwaras were exempted from VAT on goods they bought to cook at langars. According to an official spokesman, Singh wrote to Jaitley after the Sikh Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee (SGPC) and others requested him to waive the tax on these materials.
The government earlier had said that free food supplied in anna kshetras (food areas), run by religious institutions, has been kept out of the GST ambit. Under the news GST regime, tax is payable on the purchases made for the community kitchens.
According to the chief minister, GST is, however, payable on the sale of ‘prasad’ and this is impacting temples, gurdwaras and other religious institutions. CM Amarinder Singh said, “The levy of GST on goods purchased by these institutions was not fair as they did not have any source of income and were being run and managed through donations.”