(Sukhbir Badal says onus on Manpreet Badal to get exemption passed by GST Council)
Chandigarh: Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal today said SAD mps and mlas would meet finance minister Arun Jaitley soon and request for exemption to SGPC from paying GST on ‘langar’ purchases even as it asked the Punjab government to fulfill its responsibility by getting the exemption done through the GST Council.
In a statement here, the SAD president said “we are duty bound to convey the wishes of lakhs of devotees on this issue to the centre.
However what needs to be understood is that 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”.
The Akali Dal president said though chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh had written to the Union finance minister and sought exemption for the SGPC; it would be better if he 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 added.
Stating that the issue of extending exemption to the SGPC was being raised consistently by the SGPC since the last one fortnight, Mr Badal said Manpreet Badal should have filed a representation before the GST Council till now.
“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 Sikh devotees so that they could also come to know where he stands on this issue”.
Mr Badal said if Manpreet Badal was serious was siding with the Sikh community he should asked 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”, he added.
Stating that the Congress government needed to be more sensitive to the sentiments of the Sikh sangat, Mr Badal said the earlier SAD-BJP government had granted exemption to the SGPC from paying VAT on all purchases made by it for langar purchases. VAT was the levee which was applicable before GST came into being.