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GST council must fill revenue gap by consensus, not majority: Opposition

New Delhi: After rejecting the Centre’s two borrowing options on goods and services tax shortfall compensation, the Opposition-ruled states have demanded that the GST Council should take a decision after building a consensus and not on a majority vote. A day after the six states of Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Punjab, West Bengal and Telangana decided to reject the Centre’s two options, the state governments said they would present their point of view before the GST Council and demand that a consensus be arrived at.

Speaking to ET, Chhattisgarh commercial tax (GST) minister TS Singhdeo said, “We have rejected the two options. When the states surrendered their taxation rights, they were assured that the GST losses would be made good by the Centre. You cannot differentiate between circumstances and now say that the ‘Act of God’ (as mentioned by finance minister) is not mentioned in the legislation. Now, we would present our case before the GST Council and we would demand that a consensus be developed over the final decision. It should not be on a majority vote.” Deo said that, over the years, the GST Council has ensured that all decisions were taken after arriving at a consensus. “If they do not do this, then everything would pass on a majority vote,” Deo said.

Delhi, which has unique constitutional position and needs to route all loans through the home ministry, would also present its case before GST Council and demand that the Centre make good the losses. Delhi finance minister Manish Sisodia told ET, “This is betrayal. Years down the line, when any Centre-state issue crops up, this would be cited as an example of the Centre going back on its word.” Sisodia said the most immediate recourse would be to present all the facts before the GST Council.

“They should listen to the states,” Sisodia said. The Opposition parties would raise this issue on the floor of Parliament in the forthcoming monsoon session starting on September 14. “We would raise it in Parliament also. After all, it is an Act of Parliament which is being flouted,” said Sisodia adding, “The issue of how the GST Council would approach a scenario of shortfall in the GST compensation fund was also deliberated in detail and a categorical assurance was given by the then chairperson which was duly recorded at the Eighth GST Council meeting.”

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