Chief Ministers and Finance Ministers of Congress-ruled states did not hide their disappointment after the GST Council Meet on Thursday, calling the Centre’s proposals on their pending GST compensation cess as “unfortunate”.
In a virtual media briefing, Puducherry Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy, noting how financially-hard pressed all states were due to the pandemic, said: “The way the Government of India wants states to borrow is just not the right thing to do… It is unfortunate…”
“Most of the state Finance Ministers have said that the primary responsibility (of providing states the funds) lies with the Central government,” he added.
Chhattisgarh Minister T.S. Singh Deo and Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal were also present in the briefing.
Badal said the Council meeting was not held in a very cheerful environment.
“Today’s meeting went on for five hours and I won’t say it took place in a very cheerful environment,” he said, adding: “We are not happy with this outcome”. Deo too cited laws to bolster the Congress’s arguments.
States have been asking for the pending GST compensation cess from the Centre to meet their revenue shortfall due to Covid-19 which forced a complete lockdown and suspended all economic activities for a long time. However, the Centre has been asking states to borrow in view of the shortfall in GST collections and laid out two proposals in this regard.