The Congress on Thursday accused the Narendra Modi government of imposing an 18 percent GST on the water of the holy Ganga river and termed it the height of “loot and hypocrisy”.
The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, however, dismissed the Congress claim and said no such tax has been imposed on Gangajal, used in puja and other ceremonies.
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi undertaking a daylong visit to Uttarakhand on Thursday, the Congress also asked when will he visit the violence-hit Manipur.
“Modi ji, the importance of Mother Ganga, the provider of salvation, is very high for a common Indian from birth till the end of their life. It is good that you are in Uttarakhand today, but your government has imposed 18 per cent GST on the holy Ganga water itself,” Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said in a post in Hindi on X.
मोदी जी,एक आम भारतीय के जन्म से लेकर उसकी जीवन के अंत तक मोक्षदायिनी माँ गंगा का महत्त्व बहुत ज़्यादा है।
अच्छी बात है की आप आज उत्तराखंड में हैं, पर आपकी सरकार ने तो पवित्र गंगाजल पर ही 18% GST लगा दिया है।
एक बार भी नहीं सोचा कि जो लोग अपने घरों में गंगाजल मँगवाते हैं,… pic.twitter.com/Xqd5mktBZG
— Mallikarjun Kharge (@kharge) October 12, 2023
“Not even once did you think what would be the burden on those who order Ganga water to be kept in their homes. This is the height of loot and hypocrisy of your government,” he also said.
The Congress also put out an animated video on the situation in the ethnic violence-hit Manipur on its social media handle and said, “The country is asking – when will PM Modi go to Manipur.” In a clarification, the CBIC said there was no GST (Goods and Services Tax) on Gangajal.
“Gangajal is used in pooja by households across the country and puja samagri is exempt under GST… All these items have been exempt since the introduction of GST,” the CBIC said in a post on X.
The CBIC said that GST on ‘puja samagri’ was discussed in detail in the 14th and 15th meetings of the GST Council held on May 18-19, 2017 and June 3, 2017, respectively and it was decided to keep them in the exempt list.