New Delhi: The government has decided to accord special status to Yoga by categorising its promotion as a charitable activity, an announcement which evoked an enthusiastic response from Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the presentation of the Budget 2015-16 in Parliament on Saturday.
The activity of Yoga has been one of the focus areas in the present times and international recognition has also been granted to it by the United Nations, Finance Minister Arun Jaitely said while presenting the Budget.
The announcement to accord special status to Yoga follows United Nations' decision to declare June 21 as 'International Day of Yoga'.
The Prime Minister in his speech at the UN General Assembly last year had asked world leaders to adopt International Yoga Day, saying that by changing lifestyle and creating consciousness it can help us deal with climate change.
"Yoga is India's well acknowledged gift to the world. It is proposed to include Yoga within the ambit of charitable purpose under Section 2(15) of the Income-tax Act," Jaitley said.
Modi, who himself is a Yoga practitioner, welcomed the announcement by thumping the desk in the Lok Sabha.
"Further, to mitigate the problem being faced by many genuine charitable institutions, it is proposed to modify the ceiling on receipts from activities in the nature of trade, commerce or business to 20 per cent of the total receipts from the existing ceiling of Rs 25 lakh. A national database of non profit organisations is also being developed," Jaitely said.
"The institutions which, as part of genuine charitable activities, undertake activities like publishing books or holding programme on yoga or other programmes as part of actual carrying out of the objects which are of charitable nature are being put to hardship due to first and second proviso to section 2(15)," he added.