Jharkhand CM demands extension of GST compensation period for 5 more years
He also hit out at the Centre for allegedly not clearing outstanding dues of Rs 1.36 lakh crore to the state from Coal India Limited
Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren on Wednesday sought a five-year extension for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) compensation to the state beyond June 2022, claiming that the state was facing a revenue shortfall to the tune of Rs 5,000 crore per annum.
He also hit out at the Centre for allegedly not clearing outstanding dues of Rs 1.36 lakh crore to the state from Coal India Limited.
Soren who became the head of a JMM-led dispensation in 2019 told a press conference that if he remains the chief minister for 10 years, Jharkhand will no longer be called a "backward state".
"We have been facing a severe financial crunch. Our challenges have increased. The state faces a loss of Rs 5,000 crore per annum. We have demanded that the GST compensation period be extended for five years," Soren said.
When a nationwide GST subsumed 17 central and state levies from July 1, 2017, it was decided that states will be compensated for any loss of revenue from the new tax for five years. That timeframe ended on June 30 this year.
Attacking the central government for allegedly not paying the state's outstanding which he claimed to be Rs 1.36 lakh crore, the CM said that barely Rs 1,300 crore has been cleared.
As per the state government, Central Coalfields Ltd, Bharat Coking Coal Ltd and ECL owe over Rs one lakh crore as land compensation while Rs 32,000 crore is pending as common cause dues besides about Rs 3,000 crore as royalty on washed coal.
Soren accused the BJP-led Centre of unleashing all forces to destabilise a democratically elected state government.
"Ten years in power and I will wipe out the blot of a backward state from Jharkhand," said Soren.
He alleged that a number of projects in the state were stalled due to delay in getting forest and other clearances from the Centre.
To a question on the controversy over the mine "illegally" owned by him, Soren said he does not regret it.
"I had a mine in my name when I was not in power but the opposition which does not have any issue saw it now," the JMM leader said.
It was alleged that Soren allotted himself a mine when the mining and environment was held by him.
On whether he apprehended arrest in this connection by central agencies, he said he was not afraid of anything.
Claiming that his government works for the upliftment of the poor and Dalit, Soren said, "I am neither a trader nor an advocate for industrialists. A trader cannot lead Jharkhand. Time has come to expedite the momentum of development."
Stating that an SIT will probe the alleged transportation of illegally-mined minerals by railways from the state, he said that the extent of illegal transportation will be ascertained by the investigating team.
"Trucks and tractors are blamed for illegal transportation of stones, sand and coal. But, it is rampant through trains. And, the state government has no interference in this," Soren said.
On December 14, Soren had written to Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw seeking his attention towards the issue.
Soren said 2023 will be a year of implementation of the projects and schemes in the state.
The government will complete three years on December 29.
He said any government should be critically viewed, but that has to be done in a healthy manner.