A visit to the picturesque Mughal Gardens in Rashtrapati Bhawan will now cost you Rs. 25 as the President’s Secretariat has decided to levy an entry fee from August 1.
“It [entry fee] will help us provide better services and enable better maintenance. All necessary permission have been obtained and the proposal has been finalised,” a Rashtrapati Bhawan spokesperson said.
The President’s Secretariat has also sought the government’s view on levying service tax and user charge, but a decision is pending as collecting such charges will involve defining the Rashtrapati Bhawan as a “service establishment” under the Delhi Shops and Establishment Act 1954.
“It appears that the proposal (for service tax) is the first of its kind. Therefore, before we offer our views, we want the department of revenue to give its views,” a law ministry source said.
All services, except those featuring on the ‘negative list’, are taxed at 12%. A source in the revenue department confirmed that the gardens do not feature on the list. “However, there is no defined precedent on user charges being imposed on services offered by the President’s Secretariat,” the source said.
The Mughal Gardens are sprawled over 15 acres housing thousands of exotic foliage and is open to visitors from February to March each year. Over 4,79,000 persons visited the gardens this year.