The Union Ministry of Culture on June 1, 2018 introduced a new scheme called ‘SevaBhojYojna’ to reimburse the central share of CGST and IGST on items for food/prasad/langar/bhandara offered free of cost by charitable religious institutions.
The scheme has been launched for financial years 2018-19 and 2019-20 with a total outlay of Rs. 325.00 crores.
The scheme seeks to reimburse the central government’s share of Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) and Integrated Goods and Service Tax (IGST) on purchase of raw items such as ghee, edible oil, atta, maida, rava, flour, rice pulses, sugar and jaggery, which go into preparation of food/prasad/langar/bhandara offered free of cost by religious institutions.
The main objective of the scheme is to lessen the financial burden of such charitable religious institutions, which provide free of cost without any discrimination to the general public and devotees.
The charitable religious institutions including temples, gurudwara, mosque, church, dharmik ashram, dargah, monasteries, which fulfill the following criteria are eligible for the grant:
• The institutions that have been in existence for at least five years before applying for financial assistance/grant.
• The institutions that serve free food to at least 5000 people in a month.
• The institutions covered under Section 10( 23BBA) of the Income Tax Act or those registered as Society under Societies Registration Act ( XXI of 1860) or as a Public Trust under any law for the time being in force of statuary religious bodies constituted under any Act or institutions registered under Section 12AA of Income Tax Act.
• The Ministry of Culture would be registering the eligible charitable religious institutions for a time period ending with finance commission period and subsequently, the registration may be renewed by the Ministry after the performance evaluation of the institutions.
• The details of the registered institutions would be made available on an online portal for the viewership of the public, GST authorities and the entity or institution itself.
• The entity/institution will be permitted to submit the reimbursement claim of the GST and Central Government share of IGST to the designated authority of GST Department at the state level in the prescribed format during the validity of registration.
• The institution would be required to intimate the Ministry regarding any changes being made in the Memorandum of Association, office bearers or addition/deletion of the location of the free food services.
• All the eligible institutions would also be required to be registered with the Darpan portal.
A committee constituted for the purpose within four weeks would be examining all the applications along with supporting documents received from the institutions in the Ministry.
On the basis of the recommendation of the committee, a competent authority in the Ministry shall register charitable religious institutions for reimbursing claim of CGST and central government share of IGST paid on above mentioned specific items.