West Bengal adds its voice to chorus of demands for GST Council meeting

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 12, 2021

Amit Mitra, Finance Minister, West Bengal

Not meeting every quarter not in line with principle of co-operative federalism: Amit Mitra

Demand for convening the GST Council is intensifying as the Finance Minister of West Bengal Amit Mitra writing to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, adding to similar demands by Chhattisgarh and Punjab.

The council, apex policy making body of GST, last met on October 5 and 12. The Centre has maintained that due to the Assembly elections in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Assam, and the Union Territory of Puducherry, the meeting could not take place.

Now, post-election, all these States and Union Territory are having a new government in place.

Mitra said in the letter, “I urge you once again to urgently call a virtual GST Council meeting and discuss the impending situation and possible solution thereof.”

Further he hoped that in the future the GST Council will meet every quarter, even if virtually.

Mitra recalled para 6 of the ‘Procedure and Conduct of Business Regulations of the Goods and Services Taxes Council.’ It provides that the Council shall meet at least ones in every quarter of the financial year. “You would agree that not meeting every quarter to discuss vital issues is not in line with the very principle of cooperative federalism,” he said.

‘Shortfall to worsen’

The West Bengal FM, using Centre’s projection, said that GST compensation shortfall is expected to be to the tune of ₹1.56-lakh crore during FY22. According to him, this is without taking into consideration the impact of the second Covid wave.

“Now due to lockdowns, the compensation will be much higher than what was projected earlier. This is undoubtedly deeply distressing,” he said.

Published on May 12, 2021

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