Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaks at the Lok Sabha during the budget session of Parliament, in New Delhi on February 13, 2023. | Photo credit: PTI
On February 13, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said compensation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) to some states was delayed due to non-availability of authenticated certificate of GA , and that Kerala had not even sent a single such certificate since 2017-2018.
Responding to a further question, she also said that ₹86,912 crore had been released for GST compensation payable to all states until May 31, 2022. She said that as per law, the Board of the GST decides to whom the GST compensation should be paid, not by the central government.
“The certification of AG is [mandatory] by law between the Center, the States and the GA [accountant general], and it’s an agreed-upon process. So unless authentication is given by the AG. she says.
The Minister of Finance said that if there is any delay in getting the authentication of the AG, it is a matter between the AG and the relevant state government, and they have to settle the matter. issue.
“If there is a problem between them, the authentication certificate is slow to reach the central government,” she said.
Ms. Sitharaman pointed out that to get GST compensation, state governments need to do a lot more.
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“State governments need to, pardon me for using the word, be effective in sorting things out with the GA. But without an AG certificate, beyond a certain limit, it is very difficult for me to go,” she said. Referring to Kerala, the minister said that after the induction of GST, the southern state did not send AG certificate for GST compensation for 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20 , 2020-21. She said that Kerala did not send the AG certificate even for a year to get compensation.
Despite this, Ms. Sitharaman said, the Center has been accused of not releasing the funds on time.
She urged Kerala MP NK Premachandran (who asked the supplementary question) to sit down with the state government and ask them to send the AG certificates all at once.
Within a reasonable time after receiving them, Ms. Sitharaman promised that she would clear them.
“You did not send [the AG certificate] even for a year and you keep blaming us for not giving you the money on time. On the contrary, in terms of fiscal deconcentration, according to the report of the Finance Committee, two payments instead of one went to all the States. Kerala has also benefited,” she said.
The Union Minister said that as far as Tamil Nadu is concerned, the GA certificate has been received for 2017-18 and the amount has been released.
She said the AG certified figure of around ₹4,223 crore for 2020-21 for Tamil Nadu, although there are disputes, has been addressed and will be settled.
“But otherwise, overall all states through May 2022 for which payment is made in early June, every amount has been cleared that is available in the public fund. The total amount donated is ₹86,912 crore which was released before May 31, 2022,” she said.