Jaipur, Jun 1 (PTI) The Congress on Tuesday raised strong objections to the government's decision of keeping it out of the Group of Ministers (GoM) to look into tax concessions to certain articles used for Covid treatment.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot alleged it is a deliberate attempt to keep the opposition Congress out of the Group of Ministers (GoM) set up after the GST Council Meet on May 28.
'Congress has three members in the GST Council. A deliberate attempt has been made to keep the principal Opposition party, the Congress, out of GoM set up by the Centre after council meet on May 28,' Gehlot said in a tweet.
He said only the BJP has more members in the GST Council and keeping out the Congress members is 'most unfortunate and strikes at the very roots of cooperative federalism'.
Congress leader P Chidambaram said Rajasthan chief minister's tweet on behalf of the three Congress state finance ministers reveals a distressing state of affairs in the GST Council.
'How can the states that expressed a contrary view to the views of FM Ms Sitharaman be altogether kept out of the GoM to report on reduction of GST rates,' he asked.
'This is BJP's brand of non-cooperative non-federalism. The eight FMs who are in the GoM should protest against the deliberate exclusion of FMs of certain states,' Chidambaram said.
Gehlot further said it is pertinent to mention that no one has been included in the GoM from the states of West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu, which had taken a stand contrary to that of proposed agenda.
'We request the eight members of the GoM to reflect on the exclusion of the Congress Finance ministers before they proceed with their deliberations. We also urge the members of GoM to take into account views expressed by Rajasthan and other mentioned states, wherein we had asked for Zero Tax Rate for Covid-related supplies in public interest,' Gehlot said.
Chidambaram, during an online press conference, alleged that the Finance Minister has treated the members of the GST council with disdain.
He said the Group of Ministers set up to recommend on whether GST rate should be reduced on Covid-related medicines and equipment, is a decision that should have been taken on the day they met and should have not taken more than 15 minutes.
'Instead of that, they have delegated it a group of ministers, which will give its report on June 8. I think, this is called procrastination, this is called not taking a decision and then on all other issues, she has given a short shrift, she has not responded at all. What did the meeting achieved, what is the outcome of the meetings- zilch. You meet after 6 months; you hold a futile meeting, come out with zilch out come and say I will consider calling a next meeting in 3 months later. Why three months later,' he asked.
'I think the GST council is being treated with complete disdain and contempt by the Finance Minister,' he alleged. PTI AG SKC AQS AQS