Tamil Nadu Finance Minister P Thiaga Rajan has strongly refuted Goa Transport Minister Mauvin Godinho’s charges that he had insulted the people of Goa at the GST Council Meet on Friday.

Both ministers were involved in a tiff, at the 43rd GST Council meeting on Friday, on equal representation and voting rights to all States, irrespective of their population, say media reports.

In an open letter addressed to the people of Goa, Thiaga Rajan, said that “the One State = One Vote model of the GST Council is fundamentally unfair. We are not nearly the first to state this view and will not be the last. Our view is consistent with the fundamental Democratic Principle of Proportional Representation, and consistent with our revered Constitution, which allocated seats in village panchayats, city council, state legislatures and both houses of Parliament using this very principle.”

Federal governance

“The Dravidian Movement has long advocated local self-governance as the logical extension of our core principle of self-respect and self-determination. As such, we are always for States’ rights, and a truly federal governance model that develops power from the Union government to the lowest level practical,” the statement posted on Twitter said. “Every statement I made during the entire meeting was entirely consistent with these principles. Even when the principle resulted in loss of potential future revenue to Tamil Nadu (including ENA into GST and away from State Taxation would have yielded revenue to Tamil Nadu, which is a net importer, at the cost of States such as Uttar Pradesh, which are net exporters), we backed States that voted for this exception, including Uttar Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, and ironically, Goa,” the statement said.

He (Goa Minister) was vociferously, and repeatedly against lowering the GST and Covid-related drugs and vaccines from 5 per cent to 0 per cent on humanitarian grounds, the statement said.

“I found his statements during the meeting to be highly repetitive, largely vacuous, hectoring, mostly redundant to others’ inputs supercilious, and devoid of the basic courtesy of assuming good faith in the comments of other States’ ministers. He spoke for many times the length of the inputs from the minister from Uttar Pradesh, a State of over 20 crore citizens, and indeed every other State,” the statement said.

‘No need to apologise’

“I have no need to apologise to the people of Goa, for I have done you no harm. In fact, I have strongly advocated for your State government’s rights. I do not require or expect any thanks for that, as my position was dictated by my principles of strengthening State’s rights and federalism with enhanced devolution,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, Godinho in a tweet, said, “I was witness to a highly objectionable behaviour of the representative of DMK-@INCIndia alliance Govt of Tamil Nadu in GST Council Meet where, attempt was made to snub Goa’s view because of being a Small State. This is against the democratic principles & Goans demand an apology.”.