On Monday, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told the state governments that they need to be “efficient” if they want to get their GST compensation on time. She also said that the GST compensation was late for some states because the Accountant General’s authentication certificate was not available.
She said that Tamil Nadu sent the AG certified numbers late, but Kerala hasn’t sent a single one since 2017-18.
In response to a question about why the Centre was taking so long to pay the states their GST compensation, Sitharaman said, “…for all the states, up to May 2022, for which the payment goes in early June, every amount that was available in the public funds has been cleared.” The total amount given was Rs 86,912 crore, which was released on May 31, 2022.”
In response to a question from a DMK MP from Tamil Nadu, A Raja, in the Lok Sabha, the Minister said, “So, through you, I will humbly submit to the House and also the member that in the process of getting the AG certificate, state governments will have to be a lot more efficient. Excuse my use of the word “efficient.” You will have to take care of that as soon as possible so that we can get the money to you as soon as possible.”
Sitharaman said that the AG certification had been received and the money had been sent to Tamil Nadu for GST compensation for 2017-18. “There is some disagreement about the amount, as the member says himself. AG-approved numbers for 2020-21 (Rs. 4,223 crore) were received… “It’s being cleaned up right now,” she said.
In response to a follow-up question from RSP member N K Premachandran, an MP from Kerala, the Finance Minister said that the state has not sent the AG’s certified statements for the GST compensation for the years 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21, and 2021-22.
“…Have you sent me the certified account from the AG for even just one year of getting your compensation? Then, the Centre is blamed for not giving out the money on time. “The certified authorised statement has not even been sent out for a year,” the Finance Minister said.
Premachandran said that the state government had said that the Centre was to blame for the delay in payment for the Rs 2 per litre cess that was put on diesel and gasoline.
“Almost all of the states, including my home state of Kerala, blame the Union government for not giving out the GST compensation and the revenue deficit grant in the right way. This is why…” “Kerala has no choice but to add Rs. 2 per litre to the price of diesel and gasoline,” he said.
Sitharaman asked Premachandran, who is part of the Opposition front in Kerala, which is run by the CPI-M, to talk to the state government. She said that the Centre would be able to pay off the debts if the state sent all the statements. She told him, “You haven’t sent it in a year, and you keep blaming us for not sending you the money on time.”