The Aam Aadmi Party has compared the 12% GST levied on small accommodations and inns, a measure that would affect those outside the Golden Temple in Amritsar , to taxes levied by Mughal ruler Aurangzeb.
The party’s Rajya Sabha MP Raghav Chadha met Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday and handed over a memorandum requesting her to roll back this tax. He also sought a financial package for Punjab.
“This tax reminds us of Aurangzeb’s ‘ Jaziya tax’, when he collected tax from pilgrimage... By introducing tax (on small accommodations), this government has done wrong,” he said. The AAP MP said that there should not be such tax on beliefs and sentiments of people.
“For a holy place that witnesses thousands of daily devotees, the affordable lodging provided by the Serais (inns) operated by the SGPC (Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee) cannot be separated from the visit. The purpose of the serais is Sangat Seva, not profit. Taxing such entities is morally impermissible,” Mr. Chadha said in a tweet.
On the financial package, Mr. Chadha said that when there was a shortage of grains in the country in the 1960s, farmers of Punjab led the green revolution.
He said that due to this, there is a fall in groundwater level in the State and requested the Finance Minister to sanction a financial package and additional water resources to address the water crisis.
“There is a need for a big financial package with additional water resources, as just reparations for the sacrifice by Punjab’s farmers in growing paddy despite its absence from Punjab’s staple diet,” Mr. Chadha said.