Reiterating that implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) and coal block auctions will help the states in terms of more revenue generation in the future, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said the Centre and the states should stand together for larger national causes.
Further, the finance minister said the setting up of the NITI Aayog would lead to more financial empowerment of the states .
“We are in the era of cooperative federalism, the centre and the state will cooperate with each other. You have a mandate to rule here, we have a mandate to rule in Delhi. We have to cooperate with each other to fulfill that mandate,” Jaitley said during his speech at the “Bengal Global Business Summit”, organised by West Bengal government in Kolkata.
The event, an annual investors’ meet to attract investments to West Bengal, was presided over Mamata Banerjee, the chief minister. Jaitley was the chief guest.
Jaitley underlined the need for greater cooperation between the Centre and states to give a massive boost to infrastructure spending in the country and attract more investments.
Significantly, West Bengal is among the few states which have raised objections to the implementation of GST, citing loss of revenues. Banerjee had earlier criticised the central government’s decision to issue an ordinance to amend the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (LARR) Act, 2013, terming the decision as “black” and “unjust”.
The finance minister tried to allay the fears of the states, including W Bengal, on GST. “We have also given an assurance to all the states that as a result of the implementation of the GST, which has been a long demand, no state will lose a single rupee of revenue. We have assured them of compensation against any loss of revenue,” he emphasised.
“In the case of West Bengal, which is predominantly a consuming state, I have not the least doubt in my mind that its revenue position is going to be much better in the year one of GST implementation itself.”
Jaitley asserted that the Centre will soon release funds towards Central Sales Tax (CST) compensation, as part of consensus building for GST rollout.
“We wil pay one installment of the CST compensation before March 31 this year and the balance amount will also be paid in the times to come. I have already given my commitment with regard to the CST compensation so that their (states) own fiscal positions are eased,” he said.
The finance minister also said coal block auctions would benefit the leading coal-producing states. “A large part of the money that we are going to get from auctions will go to the coal-producing states. And West Bengal is going to be one of the first states ,” he added.
On NITI Aayog, he said, “One of the key ideas and suggestions behind the setting up of the Niti Ayog is that India has changed and the traditional structure of control and command economy also has to alter. There has to be a greater empowerment of the states.”