Days after finance ministers (FMs) of Opposition-ruled states said that delay in GST compensation had shaken their confidence, Congress MP from Punjab Partap Singh Bajwa raised the issue in Rajya Sabha.
Flagging the issue during Zero Hour in the Upper House, Bajwa said that Punjab had not received GST compensation from August and this had strained the state finances.
"Punjab is facing serious financial issue. You will be surprised, when the GST was brought, it was decided that all states will get GST compensation in a month's time. Punjab has not received compensation for the months of August, September and October. We are now in the month of November," the Congress MP said.
Bajwa quoted Punjab Finance minister to drive home the point that the state had decided to be part of the GST regime in the highest interest of the nation. Further, the GST compensation to the tune of Rs 2,001 crore and other arrears of Rs 2,000 crore was due to the state of Punjab.
He said that the delay in payment by the Centre was grossly unfair given that Punjab was a small as well as a border state.
He urged the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to ensure clearing of the dues at the earliest.
Manas Ranjan Bhunia of AITC said that the Centre not being able to mop up GST, Central GST (CGST) and Integrated GST (IGST) was a serious issue. He noted the lower-than-expected GST collection in the month of October.
"As a result, our state of West Bengal is suffering a lot for the last two months. It is not having its share of compensation," Bhunia said.
He stated that caution had been made against hasty GST implementation as it can create a turbulent economic situation which will affect the economic structure in the federal system.
"And that has happened," he said.
In a joint statement, the state finance ministers of West Bengal, Delhi, Kerala, Rajasthan and Punjab had last week said that the compensation delay has shaken their confidence who have so far supported GST in a spirit of rare bonhomie.