opposition: Centre slams Opposition states for their attacks on GST – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Amid repeated attacks by the Opposition on GST, the Centre on Wednesday hit out at these states, saying the regime was implemented based on political consensus and some of the finance ministers were now seeking to shift the blame onto their predecessors.
“I can’t say I don’t agree with what my predecessor agreed to. Governments don’t work like that,” said a senior government official, pointing out how the empowered group of state finance ministers was always led by a member from one of the Opposition parties.
A source also said that none of the states had been deprived of the powers to levy tax as GST worked on a principle of the Centre and the states coming together for better implementation so that the cascading effect of taxes was removed. The high-ranking official also said just as the states, the Centre had also given up some of the rights to tax and 18 cesses levied by it were abolished for the implementation of GST five years ago.

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While maintaining that the recent Supreme Court judgment on GST had only upheld the current regime and GST Council’s powers being recommendatory, officials at the Centre said that some of the state finance ministers had sought to politicise the issue by issuing statements when the order had not even been released. Tamil Nadu FM P Thiaga Rajan was among the ministers to be the first to comment and had argued how the state’s position had been upheld by the apex court. Kerala FM K N Balagopal had also issued a statement, citing reports.
The Centre also flagged its concern over some of the accounting practices related to GST that some of the states were following. Government officials said in several cases the spending had been more than the collection. For instance, last year, the Centre had collected a little over Rs 2 lakh crore via road and infrastructure cess but had utilised around Rs 2.5 lakh crore. Similarly, during the current financial year, against projected collections of Rs 1.4 lakh crore, the spending is budgeted at close to Rs 3 lakh crore. Following the latest round of reduction in levies on petrol and diesel, which will result in the Centre forgoing Rs 85,000 crore, budgetary support will have to be increased further.
Similarly, against an estimated collection of Rs 81,500 crore through health and education cess, the spending was over Rs 86,000 crore, according to Centre’s data. In case of GST, compensation of Rs 1.2 lakh crore was paid, while the cess collected was to the tune of Rs 1.1 lakh crore, officials said.

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