World's largest community kitchen faces GST heat

World's largest community kitchen faces GST heat

World's largest community kitchen faces GST heat

Organisers of the world’s largest community kitchen at the Golden Temple in Amritsar have sought exemption from GST on materials used for preparing free food. 

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has ‘cautioned’ the Union government saying it would be impossible to carry out such a mammoth exercise in the present form.

The “caveat” of sorts by the SGPC comes at a time when the holiest Sikh shrine is witnessing an unprecedented increase in the number of devotees partaking “langar” (community food), up from an average about 50,000 daily to nearly 1.4 lakh on some days.

Seeking exemption from GST, SGPC president K S Badungar, in a letter to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, said, “It would be really impossible for us to carry out all the services rendered to the needy without any consideration of religion, caste, creed or country. I think the Union government should not let this happen”.

The SGPC president held that while it would not compromise on the quality of langar, quantity will be hit if exemption is not granted. The cost of running the community kitchen is likely to go up by about Rs 10 crore.

Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur, too, has raised the issue of exempting the community kitchen from GST, but to no avail. Harsimrat said the purchases for langar will fall in the bracket of 5 to 18% and lead to huge additional burden.

The daily consumption of LPG cylinders has gone up from 100 to 140 on some days. Wheat consumption, too, has doubled from 60 quintals.

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