Punjab will seek exemption for unorganised job work sector from GST and pitch for removing anomalies in the tax rates during the upcoming meeting of the GST Council on August 5, a state minister said today. Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Badal, who will attend the GST Council meeting, said he will also raise the sensitive issue of GST on ‘langar’ (community kitchen) in the Golden Temple. Manpreet has been meeting representatives of several industry verticals, including sports goods and textile, to know about their grievances regarding GST. “Textile industry is seeking complete GST exemption for job work sector. Besides, other industries like bicycle have also sought similar exemption for job work,” Badal said. “People engaged in job work sector which does embroidery work, buttoning etc run operations from their houses. This sector should be exempted as there is not going to be huge collection of tax from it,” said Badal. He further pointed out anomalies in tax rates existing in several verticals like sewing machines, tractor industries, garment and sports goods industries.
He further said he will also take up the issue of GST on ‘langar’. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) had pointed out that GST would cause adverse effect on buying of food items for ‘langar’ purposes. The Golden Temple faces an extra financial burden of Rs 10 crore a year with the implementation of the GST. Badal while taking a dig at Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said she was the union minister who could take up GST on langar issue with the central government. On the issue of seeking permission for more borrowing from the Centre to implement debt waiver, Badal said the central government should accept the request of the state government for a one-time exemption from the provisions of the FRBM Act, 2003 that restrict its borrowings to a maximum of 3 per cent of the GSDP.
He said the Centre should give one-time exemption to the state as it had done while converting settlement of Rs 31,000 crore cash credit limit issue to debt. “Why should they refuse us (one time exemption)? Three months back, Rs 31,000 crore was converted into loan by the Centre. Was not it relaxation in FRBM,” he asked. Chief minister Amarinder Singh in a letter to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, had sought a one-time exemption to the state government from the provisions of the FRBM Act, 2003 that restrict its borrowings to a maximum of 3 per cent of the GSDP. The chief minister had sought permission from the Centre to allow the state government to raise additional borrowings of Rs 10,000 crore from financial institutions/market to help mitigate the financial distress of the farmers.
On the issue of recovery notices sent by banks to farmers, Badal said he will take up the matter with the RBI in this regard, saying banks should not “humiliate” growers. On giving smartphones as promised in poll manifesto, Badal said the government may start distributing mobile handsets from Diwali. “It may be Diwali. We will conduct competitive bidding for it and those companies who give phones of best terms will be selected,” he said. The Congress before polls had promised to give 50 lakh smartphones with one year of free data and calling to the youth in the state, to empower them and connect them digitally, once it comes to power.