Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman
ANI Photo

West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra on Wednesday wrote to his counterpart at the Centre, Nirmala Sitharaman, urging her to convene a virtual meeting of the GST Council to discuss about the "alarming" shortfall in terms of compensation to states.

"The GST Council was mandated to meet once in every quarter. Unfortunately, that has been violated twice over, by not calling a meeting for two consecutive quarters -- not even virtually.

"This has undermined a federalist institution, where all states are represented irrespective of political parties, regions or sizes of population, along with the GoI, I fear that not holding meetings regularly may also lead to a trust deficit," Mitra said in a letter to Sitharaman.

He said in order to restore the sanctity of the council, a virtual meeting should be convened, as was done in October last year.

Mitra also said a discussion on the shortfall expected in the compensation to states is urgently needed.

"As per GoI projection, the shortfall was expected to be to the tune of Rs 1,56,164 crore in 2021-22, without taking into consideration the impact of COVID Wave-2.

"Now, due to second wave and lockdowns, the compensation will be much higher than what was projected earlier. This is undoubtedly deeply depressing," he wrote.

The veteran economist, who has been keeping unwell for some time, was virtually sworn-in as the finance minister of West Bengal earlier this week.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal