With the rollout of GST, the Golden Temple faces an extra financial burden of Rs 10 crore per year, according to a report by Hindustan Times on Monday. Fearing the brunt, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has approached the GST Council and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley seeking an exemption.
According to the report, before the implementation of the GST, the purchases for langar (community kitchen) items and a few other articles were excluded from Value Added Tax (VAT). However, with its introduction, a tax of 12 per cent will be levied on desi ghee, 18 per cent on sugar and 5 per cent on pulses, taking the financial burden to a mammoth amount of Rs 10 crore annually.
SGPC chief secretary Harcharan Singh said, “The procurement bill of langar items such as desi ghee, sugar and pulses comes to around Rs 75 crore annually. With the shift from VAT to GST, the tax of 12% will be levied on desi ghee, 18% on sugar and 5% on pulses, increasing the financial burden by Rs 10 crore annually. With the imposition of GST on cloth, we will have to spend extra to buy siropas (robes of honour). We annually purchase 15 lakh metres of cloth for siropas. The offerings of devotees at Harmandar Sahib and other shrines is spent on free langar, medical aid and financial relief to cancer patients,” he said.