No GST on Tirupathi laddus
Tirupati Balaji [representational image]Creative commons

Following a request by the Andhra Pradesh government, the Goods and Service Tax (GST) Council has decided to exempt prasadam and human hair offered at Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD).

At the 17th GST Council meet held in New Delhi on Sunday, Andhra Pradesh Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu said that TTD should be exempted from GST as it is a reputed religious trust involved in providing services to lakhs of devotees on a day-to-day basis. 

The state government supported anti-profiteering rules discussed in GST Council, said a report. the Minister said that the state government welcomed the GST for ease of doing business. However, in an attempt to arrest leakages and protect revenues, it advocated the e-way bill system in the country, he said. 

Pricey affair

Tonsuring head is a common practice among Hindus in India, especially in the southern parts of the country. The temple in Tirumala (also called Tirupati temple or Balaji temple) is famous for such generous offerings by devotees. It is considered an act that enables the temple authorities to earn money out of it and put it to good purpose.

The temple authorities expect an earning of Rs 220 crore from sale of tresses this fiscal, marking a growth of Rs 20 crore from the previous financial year.

The TTD had switched to e-auction of hair on a monthly basis from January 2015 for speedy disposal and healthy competition, instead of the quarterly auction system. The e-auction is handled by MSTC, a public sector undertaking.