The Congress Thursday said it was "dissatisfied" with the outcome of the GST Council meeting and accused the Centre of adopting a majoritarian approach and thrusting "solutions" on states.
The finance ministers of Congress-ruled states are not happy with the outcome of GST Council meeting as decisions were thrust upon them by the Centre, Punjab's FM Manpreet Badal said at a virtual press conference after the GST Council meeting.
"We are not happy at the outcome. But, we have no choice," he said. Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, who represented the Union Territory at the meeting as he also holds the finance portfolio, said it is unfortunate the Centre was not helping the revenue-starved states by honouring its commitment to pay them GST compensation at 14 per cent.
Reacting to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's proposal that the states should borrow to make for the losses on account of non-payment of GST compensation, Congress representatives at the meeting said it should not be "forced" on them as they would have to discuss the proposal with their respective Cabinets and legislatures.
Badal, who opened the discussions from the Congress side, sought activation of the disputes resolution mechanism in the Council as provided for in Article 279 of the Constitution.
"I appeal to the Centre that if some states are not agreeable to their proposals, they should not force the solutions on states. The Centre should activate the dispute resolution mechanism in the GST Council, so that states have legal recourse to what they do not agree upon," he said at a virtual press conference.
Badal said the meeting did not take place in a very cordial atmosphere as there is a trust deficit. "We saw a trust deficit. The meeting did not progress in a very cordial atmosphere. The Attorney General's comments were read out to communicate that the Centre had no legal commitment in the matter. We wonder why the AG's views were not circulated to us," he said.
Chhattisgarh Finance Minister TS Singh Deo said there is a sad state of affairs in the GST Council as it is increasingly yielding to majoritarianism instead of being consensual. He said earlier any dissenting voice was being heard and redressed, but no longer.
Narayanasamy said there is a serious flaw in the GST Act as producing states are losing and consuming states are at an advantage under the present GST regime and that the central government should look into it.