NEW DELHI /CHANDIGARH: The culture ministry on Friday introduced a new scheme namely ‘Seva Bhoj Yojna’ with a total outlay of Rs 325 crore for Financial Years 2018-19 and 2019-20, to provide special financial assistance to all charitable religious institutions that serve free food to people.
Though these bodies will have to pay Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) and Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST), it will be reimbursed by the Centre.
A senior official said that temples, gurudwaras, mosques, churches, ashrams, dargahs, monasteries etc. in existence for five years who serve free food to at least 5,000 people in a month will be eligible for the benefits.
The order was issued by the government after President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the special financial assistance for the scheme. The GST is not levied on food served, but is charged on the purchase of raw material used to prepare the food. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee welcomed the move. “This waiver is a result of efforts made by the Shiromani Akali Dal,” said SGPC president, Gobind Singh Longowal.
SGPC’s Daljit Singh Bedi said the committee spends about Rs 75 crore per year on the world’s biggest langar that is served at the Golden Temple and has paid around Rs 3.20 crore as GST on the purchase of raw material.
The ministry will register eligible charitable religious institutions on the ‘Darpan’ portal and subsequently the registration may be renewed, subject to the performance evaluation of the institutions.
Officials said the details of registered institutions will be available on the portal for the public and GST authorities. The entity or institution will be permitted to submit the reimbursement claim of the GST and central government share of IGST to designated authority of GST Department at state level in the prescribed format during validity of registration.