Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) Rajya Sabha MP Raghav Chadha met Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Delhi on Thursday, demanding the withdrawal of 12 per cent Goods and Services Tax (GST) levied on inns located near the Golden Temple in Amritsar. and said that it is reminiscent of the ‘Jaziya’ tax of the Mughal period.
In a memorandum to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Chadha, a Rajya Sabha member from Punjab, said the imposition of Goods and Services Tax (GST) on inns would increase the cost of traveling to the Golden Temple from different parts of the country. Advocating its withdrawal, Chadha said the Golden Temple is an open court for prayer and about one lakh devotees from all over the world visit it daily.
The service of the sangat is the operation of the inns
He said that inns like Guru Gobind Singh NRI Niwas, Baba Deep Singh Niwas, Mata Bhag Kaur Niwas are run by Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to provide shelter to the devotees. He said that these inns operate as ‘service to the sangat’ and not as a profit making unit.
criticism of the center
Aam Aadmi Party tweeted, “Raghav Chadha, Rajya Sabha MP from Punjab met Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and handed over a letter to her regarding withdrawal of the decision to levy 12 per cent GST on Sarais located near Golden Temple, Amritsar. Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Tuesday criticized the central government for imposing GST on inns.
The decision of the GST Council is arbitrary
He had said that the government was targeting the devotees staying in the inns located near the Golden Temple. Terming the decision of the GST Council as arbitrary and illogical, Mann had said that several inns, including Guru Gobind Singh NRI Niwas, Baba Deep Singh Niwas and Mata Bhag Kaur Niwas, are associated with the Golden Temple. He said that these inns have always been an integral part of the Gurudwara complex. Chadha termed the Centre’s decision to levy 12 per cent GST on inns as unnecessary financial imposition on the sangat (community).
Aurangzeb’s jizya tax
The AAP MP said filling the treasury of the central government could not be a bigger task than completing the spiritual journey of every devotee who seeks blessings at the Golden Temple. “A time like this reminds us of the Mughal era, when Aurangzeb imposed jizya tax on pilgrims,” he said. Chadha demanded the central government to consider whether devotees visiting the Golden Temple But imposing additional tax is morally justified.
He urged the Finance Minister to provide a solution and a much-needed relief to the devotees by withdrawing the decision to levy 12 per cent GST on inns. Chadha said the Centre’s decision to levy 12 per cent GST on inns has caused pain to the devotees and followers of Sikhism coming from across the country to visit the ‘Holy Golden Temple’ of Sri Darbar Sahib. The MP also tried to draw attention of Sitharaman to the ‘plight of farmers’ of Punjab due to depletion of groundwater level and requested her to approve a financial package to address the water crisis.
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