GST aid delay: Nirmala Sitharaman assures help sans timeline : 05-12-2019

Finance ministers and other representatives of seven Opposition-ruled states met Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday over the delay in release of GST compensation, and told mediapersons later that they haven’t been informed as to why the delay occurred or given a time-frame within which the dues would be paid.

Sitharaman, however, assured them that the funds would be disbursed as soon as possible, they said. The Centre has apparently not released the compensation amounts to states for the August-September period, which was due in October.

Under the GST Act, the states are guaranteed a 14% annual GST revenue growth, which entitles them to combined SGST revenue of Rs 55,800 crore per month this fiscal. However, in the April-November period, the average monthly collection was short by over Rs 8,500 crore. While the compensation cess requirement for this period is nearly Rs 69,000 crore, the cess funds collected were Rs 64,500 crore. The deficit is seen to have got worse since.

“We don’t know why compensation has been withheld. The finance minister didn’t speak on the reasons. She said that she would tell us the reasons at the right time,” Manish Sisodia, finance minister of Delhi, said after the meeting.

Finance ministers of Punjab, Puducherry and Madhya Pradesh and representatives of Kerala, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal attended the meeting over delay in payment of compensation.

Sisodia said that the Central government had nearly Rs 50,000 crore as compensation amount but the reason for withholding it wasn’t clear. “At the Goa GST Council meeting (held on September 20), the opening balance was Rs 23,000 crore. A similar amount has been added to the fund since then,” he added.

Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal said, “We discussed that issue with the finance minister. Even the compensation for next period (October-November) will be due now. The government is under obligation to pay.” He added that the Union finance minister did not specify any timeline for disbursal but assured that it would happen as soon as possible.

Source : PTI