New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday reached out to the chief ministers of West Bengal, Maharashtra and Jharkhand, besides all four Congress chief ministers, on the issue of GST compensation to states.
Refusal to compensate states on GST is nothing short of betrayal on part Modi government, she said.
“In the meeting of Standing Committee of Finance on 11 August, Finance Secretary, GoI stated that Centre is not in a position to pay mandatory GST compensation of 14% for the current year. This refusal is nothing short of betrayal on part of Modi government,” said Sonia at the virtual meeting attended by Mamata Banerjee, Uddhav Thackeray and Hemant Soren.
The meeting was held for evolving a collective stand at the August 27 GST Council meeting and press the central government to grant compensation to states, sources said.
The ongoing controversy over conducting NEET, JEE exams has also been touched upon at the meeting.
“Announcements such as those related to the National Education Policy should really worry us as it is actually a setback. NEP is a setback to secular and scientific values, reveals insensitivity of government. Other problems of students and exams are also being dealt with uncaringly,” said Sonia.
Draft EIA legislation is anti-democratic and laws to protect environment, public health are being weakened by Modi government, she added.
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee urged all CMs to together move Supreme Court for postponing NEET, JEE exams as students are not prepared.
“This will be my request to all state governments, let us do it together, let us go to Supreme Court and postpone the exams for the time being until and unless the situation allows students to sit for exam (JEE/NEET),” said Mamata.
“The exams are in September. Why should the lives of students be put at risk? We have written to the PM, but there has been no response,” said Mamata.
“If the Prime Minister does not listen to us, then we all (states) collectively should approach the Supreme Court,” she further said.
She also said that state governments are being ‘bulldozed’ by Centre in name of cooperative federalism.
Ruling party is using agencies against opposition and undermining federal structure, said Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren.
“I think we should go to Prime Minister or President before approaching the Supreme Court,” he said.
“We should decide whether we have to fight or fear the Central government,” said Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray.
“We have to work and fight together against Central government,” said Sonia to all the CMs at the meeting.
Punjab may face deficit of ₹25,000 crore this year due to Covid-19, said the state CM Amarinder Singh at the meeting. All chief ministers should collectively go to PM and apprise him of revenue situation in states, he said.
“Covid-19 situation is getting worse. We’ve spent nearly ₹500 crore. We’re in a situation where the finances of our states are completely down. Centre has not paid GST compensation. I agree with Mamata ji that we should collectively see PM,” said Punjab CM.
“There was a report from the US that about 97,000 children were infected by Covid-19 when schools were opened. What will we do if such a situation arises here?,” asked Thackeray.
“Opposition chief ministers should speak louder as Central government is trying to suppress our voice,” he added.