DNA India – GST on Langar: SGPC writes to Center again for exemption of taxes

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 10 May 2018. The Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has revealed that they again wrote to the Centre, demanding exemption of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) being levied on ‘langar’ (community meal) service at Gurdwaras across the country, but received no reply.

“We’ve written letters to the government, but haven’t got any reply. We want the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to be removed from the langar service,” Daljit Singh Bedi, Additional Secretary of SGPC, told ANI.

Earlier, Union Minister for Food Processing Harsimrat Kaur Badal had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that the due to GST on ‘langar,’ the money used for feeding more people was going in taxes.

The SGPC spends around Rs 75 crore to purchase desi ghee, sugar and pulses, all used in the preparation of food served at the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Citing this, the minister said the committee would have to bear a financial burden of Rs 10 crore on purchases, as they came under the 5 to 18 percent GST bracket.



The Hindu – GST on langar: Congress MP’s colourful protest makes heads turn

New Delhi – India, 04 April 2018. Sporting a kurta imprinted with a demand for the rollback of GST on langar, the free community kitchen at the famed Golden Temple, Congress MP from Amrtisar Gurjeet Singh Aujla stood out in the Lok Sabha on April 4.

Amid the din in the House with AIADMK members demanding immediate constitution of the Cauvery Water Management Board, Mr Aujla made many heads turn with the colourful message printed on his white kurta.

The Golden Temple in Amritsar, which is the holiest of all Sikh shrines, runs one of the largest community kitchens in the world feeding freshly cooked food to 50,000 devotees on weekdays and over 1 lakh on weekends and festivals.

The Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee, which manages all gurdwaras, has been urging the Centre to exempt the free kitchens at the Golden Temple and other Sikh shrines from the purview of the Goods and Services Tax.

Earlier, Union Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal had also urged Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to exempt all purchases made by the SGPC for the langar service from the GST.

After implementation of the GST, the Golden Temple reportedly shelled out over Rs 2 crore extra in 2017 as GST for purchasing ration for the langar. Under the new GST Act, there is a provision for exemption to institutions and businesses on the recommendation of the GST Council.


The Times of India – Harsimrat urges PM Narendra Modi to take up no-turban law with French President

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 11 March 2018. Union food processing industry minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday to talk to France President Emmanuel Macron about Sikhs being made to remove their turbans while being photographed for official identification.

Macron arrived for a four-day visit to India on Friday night.

Harsimrat, in a letter to Modi, said she had received repeated requests from the Sikh community settled in France, as well as the Counseil Representatif des Sikhs de France, that a law which required removal of turbans while being photographed for passport, identity card, health card, transport card, driving license or any other identification issued by the French administration, was causing them severe humiliation.

She said this law was also a violation of Sikh tenets, and the Sikh community was confident that the issue could be addressed by the Prime Minister.

“Nowhere else in the world were Sikhs subjected to this kind of discrimination,” added Harsimrat. She said there was a need to sensitise the French government about Sikh culture, and explain them the sensitivity of the community on this issue, while asserting that the turban was an integral part of the Sikh identity.