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Centre Will Refund GST on Raw Materials for Langars and Bhandaras, Announces Arun Jaitley

The Centre's share of GST charged on the raw food materials purchased by the religious institutions will be refunded under a new scheme 'Seva Bhoj Yojana', Badal had told reporters at a press conference in the national capital.

News18.com

Updated:June 2, 2018, 5:45 PM IST
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Centre Will Refund GST on Raw Materials for Langars and Bhandaras, Announces Arun Jaitley
Devotees eat at a langar in a gurudwara in Chandigarh. (Reuters)
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New Delhi: Union finance ministry Arun Jaitley has announced that the central government will refund its share of GST charged on purchase of raw food items that are used to cook ‘Langar/ Bhandara (free meal to public)’.

"A 'Langar/ Bhandara' are amongst the greatest of religious/ cultural practices. Delighted that we have made the food inputs cheaper by reimbursing the GST/IGST’s central government’s share. Congratulations to the Ministry of Culture for this great initiative (sic)," tweeted Jaitley.

This comes a day after union minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal had said the same.

The Centre's share of GST charged on the raw food materials purchased by the religious institutions will be refunded under a new scheme 'Seva Bhoj Yojana', Badal had told reporters at a press conference in the national capital.

The move came after the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), an ally of the ruling NDA, and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) demanded that raw food material being purchased for langars served at gurdwaras be exempted from the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Harsimrat, who is the Minister of Food Processing, had also written a letter in this regard to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

The scheme has a financial outlay of around Rs 325 crore from 2018-19 to 2019-20 and has been notified by the Union Ministry of Culture. The assistance will come under the 'Seva Bhoj Yojana'.

The central government's share of Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) paid on the purchase of specific items by charitable religious institutions for distributing free food to the public shall be reimbursed as financial assistance by the Government of India, according to an order of the ministry.

Welcoming the decision, SAD president Sukhbir Badal, who was also present at the press meet in Delhi, said it shows the commitment of his party towards the entire Sikh community and towards all faiths in the country.

He also thanked Prime Minister Modi for taking this decision and at the same time demanded that state governments across the country waive their share of GST.

Taking to Twitter Harsimrat said, "Heartfelt gratitude to PM Sh. @narendramodi ji for respecting Sikh sentiments by launching Seva Bhoj Yojna to refund CGST and IGST on Langar served in Gurudwaras and all other religious/charitable institutions."

The Union Minister also uploaded a copy of the Centre's order on the scheme on her Twitter account.

"Sanction of the President is hereby accorded for launching of the scheme of financial assistance under Seva Bhoj Yojna from financial year 2018-19 to the financial year 2019-20 with financial outlay of Rs 325 crore.

"Under this scheme, the CGST and the centre's share of IGST paid on purchase of specific items by charitable/religious institutions for distributing free food to public shall be reimbursed as financial assistance by the Government of India," the order, dated May 31, stated.

Punjab Governor VP Singh Badnore, in a statement issued in Chandigarh, said the food bill of the Golden Temple was around Rs 75 crore per year and that 70,000 to 80,000 people visited the holy shrine every day. The number on weekends increases to 1.25 lakh to 1.50 lakh per day, he said.

(With PTI inputs)
(Get detailed and live results of each and every seat in the Lok Sabha elections and state Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim to know which candidate/party is leading or trailing and to know who has won and who has lost and by what margin. Our one-of-its-kind Election Analytics Centre lets you don a psephologist’s hat and turn into an election expert. Know interesting facts and trivia about the elections and see our informative graphics. Elections = News18)
| Edited by: Aditya Nair
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