Bureaucrats can’t substitute GST Council’s power, says Badal

By: |
June 03, 2021 2:45 AM

These decisions were merely informed to the members of the Council, but no approval was sought.

While some state finance ministers including West Bengal’s Amit Mitra and Punjab’s Manpreet Singh Badal pitched for a temporary waiver of tax for all Covid drugs, vaccines and equipment, a group of ministers led by Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma recommended slashing of GST rates for items other than vaccines.While some state finance ministers including West Bengal’s Amit Mitra and Punjab’s Manpreet Singh Badal pitched for a temporary waiver of tax for all Covid drugs, vaccines and equipment, a group of ministers led by Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma recommended slashing of GST rates for items other than vaccines.

Taking exception to decisions being taken by a group of officials in the GST Implementation Committee (GIC) which are later ‘informed’ to the state finance ministers during the GST Council meeting instead of seeking ‘approval’, finance ministers of Punjab and Tamil Nadu have sought corrective action in this regard.
“We are taking decisions of overarching significance that impact tax payers by means of subordinate law (rule), and on the other, refraining from seeking even the approval of the Council, as mandated by the charter of the GST laws,” Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal wrote to union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Tamil Nadu finance minister.

In the recent GST Council meeting on May 28, Badal had pointed out that GIC has taken many important decisions with regard to extension of validity of certain exemption notifications, enactment of new restrictions on the availment of tax credits by amending Rule 36, reducing the burden of tax compliance by streamlining the system of multiple return filing and plugging tax leakages, etc. These decisions were merely informed to the members of the Council, but no approval was sought.

“(Badal’s) questions are crucial to the identity & legitimacy of the GST Council. Others including the Hon. Minister of West Bengal, and even myself, sought clarification on what actions required Approval vs Ratification vs “For Information”, Tamil Nadu finance minister P Thiaga Rajan tweeted.

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