GST Council needs course correction: West Bengal Finance Minster to Nirmala Sitharaman

By Express News Service
Kolkata: The Finance and Planning Minister of West Bengal Amit Mitra on Wednesday wrote to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman saying that the GST Council needs a course correction to restore consensus-based approach in decision making.

He also referred instances in the past where the Centre and states accepted each other’s suggestion to important issues such as setting the threshold for GST registration.

Mitra assured Nirmala that states will respond to equal measures if the Centre brings back consensual atmosphere that had defined the Council since its inception.

Mitra’s suggestions indicate the rift within the council along political lines. Non-BJP states have been raising voice expressing their concern about GST compensation, need for full GST relief on all Covid-related medical supplies and an officials’ panel allegedly making significant changes in rule outside the political oversight of the council.

“What pains me the most is the fact that GST Council meetings have become acrimonious, vexing and almost toxic with erosion of mutual trust that had held fast between states and the Centre since the inception of the GST Council,’” Mitra wrote in his letter, adding, “Frankly speaking, Hon’ble Minister, an undercurrent has emerged in recent times that while the Chair hears the submissions of all States very patiently, indeed, there is a predetermined conclusion with which GoI, aided by its top bureaucrats, comes to the GST Council meetings.”

Seeking the Union Minister’s attension, Mitra further said, “I urge you to kindly introspect on what I have taken liberty of bringing to your attention with utmost sincerity and frankness, so that you may consider a course correction in the matter of functioning of the GST Council.”