Former Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra has slammed the Centre for failing in its constitutional obligation to call a meeting of the GST Council in the last four and a half months. Mitra, who is now the advisor to chief minister Mamata Banerjee, has demanded that the Centre must soon call a meeting of the council.
In a letter to Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Mitra also demanded that the council must know the outcomes of the meetings of the two group of ministers(GoMs) formed to decide on the tax on casinos, online gaming and rate rationalisation.
He also exhorted the Centre to recognise the efforts of the state governments in shoring up GST revenue. Bengal, for instance, has managed to achieve 93 per cent return filing during April-October.
Mitra’s letter to the finance minister comes just a day after Mamata criticised the Centre for failing to pass on the state’s share of GST revenues as soon as it became due.
“The Centre’s attitude smacks of majoritarianism. At least one meeting of the council should be called in every quarter according to rule 6 of the procedure and conduct of business regulations of the GST Council in pursuance of Article 279 (8) of the Constitution,” Mitra said on Wednesday.
“If there are other pressing engagements, it should convey that in writing. The Centre neither called a meeting nor bothered to inform why it failed to do so.”
The two Group of Ministers were formed in 2021 to look into the GST rates on casinos, online gaming and races; and for rate rationalisation.
Only an interim report had come out from the GoM on rates, while the outcome from the other one is yet not known, Mitra pointed out “May I also urge you to bring finality, through consensus, on the serious matter spending with two GoMs forover a year,” Mitra wrote toSitharaman.
Mitra also focused on the Bengal government’s thrust on zero tolerance on GST return default which has led to a sharp spike in return filing.“The results of the increased compliance is showing in good collection of GST revenue benefitting the Centre in equal measure,” he explained.