Sikh groups demand to exempt shrines from GST

The Gurudwara community believes that if they are granted an exemption, the same amount could be used for other social causes

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Many Sikh groups in Mumbai are demanding an exemption on food purchased by Gurudwaras for langar — the free community kitchens in the shrines — from Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Kulwant Singh, Vice President, Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Mumbai (Dadar Gurudwara), told Hindustan Times, that some of the business entities could avail for a set-off on the GST paid on various items, but there are no such provisions for Sikh shrines.

Hari Om Julka, General Secretary, Panchayati Gurudwara, told Hindustan Times,

We have students, cancer patients and people from nearby slum areas who come for langar, which according to us is a service to humanity. Since most of the branded products fall under the 12-18% category, we cannot get food of lower quality and take a risk with the health of devotees.” 

Two months ago, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which looks after the Golden Temple, said that they had paid ₹2 Cr as GST in the span of seven months and they urged the Central government to exempt Sikh shrines from GST. But, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley turned down the plea stating that no GST has been imposed on food served in langars. 

Manmohan Singh of Dadar Gurudwara told Hindustan Times,

On an average, a bigger gurudwara in Mumbai would end up spending around ₹10 lakh on GST. If we are granted an exemption, the same amount could be used for other social causes. Here, we aren’t referring to gurudwaras specifically, but it’s about religious institutions of other communities too.”

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