GST Council: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will chair the 46th meeting today; Examine the major demands of the states

New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will chair the 46th meeting of the GST Council in New Delhi on Friday (December 31), the last day of the year. Ministers of State in the Union Finance Ministry Pankaj Choudhary and Dr Bhagwat Kishanrao Karad will also attend the council meeting.

On Thursday, the Finance Ministry tweeted, “FM Smt @nsitharaman will chair the 46th meeting of the GST Council in New Delhi tomorrow. The meeting will be attended by Finance Ministers @mppchaudharyand @DrBhagwatKaad besides Finance Ministers of States and UTs. Central Govt. and senior officials of the states.”

The 46th GST Council meeting assumes significance ahead of the Union Budget, which is presented by the Finance Minister in the Parliament on the first day of February.

Several state governments, including Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Delhi and West Bengal, on Thursday pressed for continuation of GST compensation for a further period of five years in view of the financial stress arising out of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Several states also demanded an increase in the share of the central government in Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS). Central and state government is currently 60:40 in some CSS while it is 75:25 in others.

Notably, the GST compensation to states for revenue shortfall resulting from subsuming local taxes such as VAT in a uniform national tax, the Goods and Services Tax (GST), will expire in June next year.

Finance ministers of several states had sought extension of the GST cess regime in a pre-budget consultation convened by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman here.

On Thursday, Nirmala Sitharaman chaired a pre-budget consultation with finance ministers of states and union territories (along with legislature) for the Union Budget 2022-23 in Delhi. This will be the fourth budget in the second term of the NDA government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The pre-budget meeting was attended by Union Ministers of State for Finance, Chief Ministers, Deputy Chief Ministers, Finance Ministers, Ministers and senior officials of the States and Union Territories (along with the Legislature) and Central Government, the Finance Ministry said in an official press release.

The Union Finance Secretary welcomed all the participants in the deliberations and apprised them of the importance of this special consultation meeting.

Most of the participants thanked the Union Finance Minister for financially supporting their states/UTs during the worst months of the pandemic, raising the borrowing limits, providing back to back loans to the states and special assistance for capital expenditure .

Notably, the participants gave several suggestions to the Finance Minister for inclusion in the budget speech. The Finance Minister thanked the participants for their inputs and suggestions for the Union Budget 2022-23 and assured to examine each and every proposal.

(with agency input)

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