A day after Chief Minister Amarinder Singh sought exemption of GST on ‘langar’, the opposition SAD today said the onus was on the state government for getting tax exemption by making representation before the GST Council. “It is the Congress government which has to get this exemption passed in the GST Council. “Under the new GST regime, states have a weightage of 66 per cent to influence all decisions in the GST Council vis-a- vis the Centre which has a weightage of only 33 per cent,” SAD President Sukhbir Badal said a statement here. The former deputy chief minister asked the Punjab government to fulfil its responsibility by getting the exemption done through the GST Council. Sukhbir put the ball in the state government’s court for exemption on ‘langar’ (community kitchen) even as his wife and Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal has already urged
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to exempt all purchases made by SGPC for ‘langar sewa’ under the GST. The Akali Dal president said though the chief minister had written to the Union finance minister and sought exemption for the SGPC, it would have been better if he had directed his Finance minister Manpreet Badal to get this done in the GST Council. “The Council allows each state to put forward its demands for grant of relief on specific items. However, relief can only be granted if the appropriate case is put up before the council, which has not happened yet in the case of granting exemption for langar’ items,” he claimed. Stating that the issue of extending exemption to the SGPC was being raised consistently since the last fortnight, Badal said Manpreet should have filed a representation before the GST Council till now.
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“He needs to tell Sikh devotees why he has not taken up the matter in the GST Council in which he represents Punjab? “Is it a case of sheer incompetence on his part or is he deliberately not raising the issue because he does not want to extend this exemption? “Manpreet Badal should make his stand clear to the Sikh devotees so that they could also come to know where he stands on this issue,” he asked while taking a dig at him. Badal said if Manpreet Badal was serious in siding with the Sikh community, he should ask the GST Council to forfeit the state share in the GST immediately as a first step.
“This can be followed up with the demand for complete exemption. Even a fifty per cent exemption from GST to the SGPC will give it substantial relief as it purchases ‘desi ghee’, sugar, dry milk and pulses to the tune of Rs 75 crore annually. “Forfeiture of the state share would halve the GST of Rs 10 crore which is likely to be applicable on SGPC if it does not get any exemption,” Sukhbir said. He said the SAD MPs and MLAs would meet Finance Minister Arun Jaitley soon and request for exemption to SGPC from paying GST on ‘langar’ purchases. Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), in its representation earlier, had pointed out that the 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.