The SAD President Sardar Sukhbir Singh Badal and the Union Minister Ms Harsimrat Kaur Badal today thanked the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the BJP president Shri Amit Shah and Shri Arun Jaitley for the PM’s decision to grant exemption on GST on purchases for Langar in Gurdwaras and other religious shrines in the country. The decision will also benefit Durgiana Temple and other temples and shrines of every religion. This fully reflects the Gurus’ ideal of Sarbat da Bhala “
“We have no words to thank the“ bold, decisive and magnanimous Prime Minister for this unprecedented, historic and never– before decision since independence.”
“It is the Government’s token offering to the spirit of this unique tradition started by the great Gurus,” they said.
S Sukhbir Singh Badal, accompanied by Ms Harsimrat Kaur Badal and the SGPC and the DSGMC presidents, Jathedar Gobind Singh Longowal and Jathedar Manjit Singh GK respectively, S Bikram Singh Majithia, S Manjinder Singh Sirsa, Member Parliament, Shri Naresh Gujral and members of the SGCP and the DSGMC today paid obeisance and thanksgiving ardas at Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib to express their gratitude to the Guru Sahibaan and the Almighty for this historic achievement for the Community.
The two leaders regretted that the Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal “miserably failed” to raise this just and legitimate demand at the GST council which is the final deciding authority and of which he is member. He never even performed his basic duty to put this issue as an item on the GST Council. In fact he threw his arms up, saying that he simply could not do anything about the issue,” said the Akali leaders..
To give effect to the government’s decision to exempt purchases for Langar from GST, a new scheme has been launched to be called Seva Bhoj Yojna .Under this scheme, the “CGST and the centre’s share of IGST paid on purchase of specific items by religious shrines/charitable institutions for distributing free food would be reimbursed to the concerned bodies.”
The decision will cover Shri Harmandar Sahib, and all five thakhats , Shri Akal takhat Sahib, Takhat Shri KeshGarh Sahib, Takhat Shri Takhat Shri Patna Sahib, Takhat Shri Damadama Sahib and Takhat Shri Nanded Sahib., in addition to all Gurdwaras, including managed by the SGPC, the DSGMC , as well as all other shrines regardless of their religions. The exemption will apply to all “all registered charitable bodies, societies and which have be in existence and active in free langar for the past five years or more.
It may be recalled that although GST was uniformly applicable to shrines of every religion across the country, only the SAD and the SGPC had been strongly urging the Union government for exemption to purchases for items for Langar, especially with regard to Shri Harmandar Sahib and other Gurdwaras.
The SAD president S Sukhbir Singh Badal met the BJP president Shri Amit Shah several times several times in this regard. He had emphasized the issue of GST exemption on purchases for Langar items was “absolutely non-negotiable” for the party.
Ms Badal had been leading the Sikh community’s demand in this regard. During several meetings she had with the PM and the FM, she emphasized that “the tradition of Langar was integral to the spiritual, ideological, social and sociological dimensions of the teachings of the great Gurus aimed, among other things, at pulling down caste barriers in the Indian society.”