Amarinder to meet Jaitley on CCL debt, GST relief for langar
After West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, now Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh would pursue the settlement of Rs 31,000 crore Cash Credit Limit (CCL) debt to ease the state's financial burden.
Singh would meet Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley here on Thursday and would also take up the issue of GST waiver on langar and prasad. Though the state chief minister had already taken up the issues earlier, he wants to discuss the sensitivity and criticality of the two issues personally with the Union Minister, Singh's office clarified.
The Punjab CM had earlier discussed the CCL-related debt waiver with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and sought the Centre's intervention to settle the Rs 31,000 crore debts, resulting from the CCL legacy gap and the exorbitant interest imposed by the Centre for conversion of the pending CCL amount into loan.
The said debt would require Rs 3,240 crore to be spent every year on debt servicing for the next 20 years at the cost of welfare schemes of the state, which the state could not afford. The CM feels that it should be proportionately shared by all concerned agencies in a just and fair manner.
The gap had resulted from difference in actual expenditure and expenditure approved in cost sheet approved by the Centre's Department of Food & Public Distribution (DFPD) and the inability of the state government agencies to fully repay the CCL.
Meanwhile, the DFPD had repeatedly assured the state government that it would address the issue but there has been no movement on this front so far, state officials asserted. In his letter to Jaitley, Punjab CM also mentioned that Gurudwaras were exempted from the payment of VAT on goods brought by them for serving food in free kitchens (Langar). However, under the new GST regime, tax is payable on the purchase of these goods. The Chief Minister said that GST is also payable on sale of Prasad, thus impacting all religious institutions including Temples, Gurudwaras, Mosques and the Churches.
"The levy of GST on goods purchased by religious institutions was not fair as these institutions did not have any source of income and were run and managed with finances raised through donations," mentioned in the letter.