Exempt the food purchased for langar from GST, say Mumbai Sikh groups

On a daily average, a small Gurudwara feeds around 300 people per meal. with gst, the avg monthly expenditure has spiked by 10%.

mumbai Updated: Apr 13, 2018 10:49 IST
Yesha Kotak
Yesha Kotak
Hindustan Times
mumbai,sikh,gurudwara
Last week, the Lucknow Gurudwara Pabandhak Committee (LGPC) made a similar demand. (Representational photo)

Owing to the Goods and Services Tax (GST), additional cost incurred on the purchase of food products by Gurudwaras for langar – the free community kitchens in the shrines – has added to their financial burden, said Sikh groups. On a daily average, a small-scale Gurudwara feeds around 300 people per meal. As a result of the additional tax burden, their average monthly expenditure has spiked by at least 10%.

“We aren’t demanding anything, it’s just a request that our community has been raising for a while to exempt the good purchased by us from GST,” said Kulwant Singh, vice president, Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Mumbai (Dadar Gurudwara). Singh added that while business entities could avail for a set-off on the GST paid on various items, but there are no such provisions for us.

“We have students, cancer patients and people from nearby slum areas who come for langar, which according to us is a service to humanity. Since most of the branded products fall under the 12-18% category, we cannot get food of lower quality and take a risk with the health of devotees,” said Hari Om Julka, General Secretary, Panchayati Gurudwara.

Around two months back, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which looks after the Golden Temple, had said that they had paid Rs2 crore as GST in the span of seven months. Following this, they urged the Central government to exempt Sikh shrines from the purview of GST. This was turned down by the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley stating that no GST has been imposed on food served in langars.

Last week, the Lucknow Gurudwara Pabandhak Committee (LGPC) made a similar demand.

“On an average, a bigger gurudwara in Mumbai would end up spending around Rs10 lakh on GST. If we are given granted exemption, the same amount could be used for other social causes. Here, we aren’t referring to gurudwaras specifically, but it’s about religious institutions of other communities too,” said Manmohan Singh of Dadar Gurudwara.

First Published: Apr 13, 2018 10:49 IST