Bill to collect tax from temples rejected by Legislative Council
Bill to collect tax from temples rejected by Legislative Council

Bengaluru: The Karnataka government had passed the Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowment (Amendment) bill in the Legislative Assembly, but this bill was rejected in the Legislative Council on Friday. In this amended bill, it was said that the government will collect 10 percent tax on the income of temples whose revenue is more than Rs 1 crore. The opposition party BJP is continuously attacking the Siddaramaiah government regarding this. 

Even after being passed in the Assembly, the Hindu Religious Bill faced opposition in the Legislative Council. Endowments Department Minister Ramalinga Reddy introduced the bill in the council, sparking a heated debate between BJP and Congress members. Ultimately, Deputy Chairman Pranesh got the voting done by voice vote. Bharatiya Janata Party and JDS are in majority in the upper house of the state. A voice vote was held to take a decision on this bill and only 7 votes were cast in its favor, while 18 votes were cast against it. In the Karnataka Legislative Council, Bharatiya Janata Party has 34 members, Congress has 28 and Janata Dal Secular has 8 members.  

The Bharatiya Janata Party had alleged that the Congress government of Karnataka was adopting anti-Hindu policies and it was bound to lead to violence, fraud and misuse of funds. However, the state government had rejected all the allegations and said that 10 percent of the money would be taken only from temples with revenue of more than Rs 1 crore. The government claimed that the money collected would be used for "religious council" purposes, to improve the financial condition of priests and to improve C-grade temples or those in very poor condition. And the children of the temple priests will be given quality education.

Muzrai Minister Ramalinga Reddy had told the discussion that this money would be used for the purposes of the religious council, such as upliftment of poor priests, education of children of priests and renovation of 'C' category temples etc. He alleged, 'BJP had done the same in the name of gross due to its tenure. He had taken 5 percent for temples with income between ₹5 lakh to ₹25 lakh. Now what we have done is that if the income is up to Rs 10 lakh we have exempted it from paying to the religious council. Above ₹25 lakh he took 10 percent. The 10 percent amount that we are taking now will not be used anywhere else, not even in the Muzrai department. It will be used only for religious council.  

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