Lack of AG certificate behind delay in GST compensation to some states: Sitharaman

Lack of AG certificate behind delay in GST compensation to some states: Sitharaman

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said GST compensation to some states is delayed due to non-availability of Accountant-General’s (AG) authenticated certificate, and that Kerala has not sent even a single such certificate since 2017-18.

Replying to a supplementary question, she also said that Rs 86,912 crore has been released for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) compensation payable to all states up to May 31, 2022.

She said as per law, GST Council decides to whom the GST compensation is to be released, not by the central government.

Also read: GST compensation: West Bengal says Centre owes it Rs 2,409 crore

The agreed process

“AG’s certification is (mandatory) by law between the Centre, states and the AG (accountant general), and it is an agreed process,” she said.

The finance minister said if there is any delay of getting the AG’s authentication, it is a matter between the AG and the state government concerned, and they have to sort it out. “If between them there is a problem, the authentication certificate gets delayed in reaching the central government,” she said.

Sitharaman underlined that to get GST compensation, state governments have to do a lot more.

“The state governments have to, pardon me using the word, be efficient to sort it out things with the AG. But without AG certificate, beyond a certain limit, it is very difficult for me to go,” she said.

The Kerala case

Referring to Kerala, the minister said post-GST induction, the southern state has not sent AG certificate for GST compensation for 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21. She said Kerala has not sent the AG certificate even for one year for getting compensation dues.

Despite that, Sitharaman said, the Centre has been accused of not releasing the funds on time.

She urged Kerala MP N K Premachandran (who asked the supplementary question) to sit with the state government and request it to send the AG certificates in one go.

Within a reasonable time, after receiving them, Sitharaman promised that she would clear the same.

“You have not sent (the AG certificate) even for one year and you keep blaming us that we are not giving you money on time. On the contrary, in the matter of tax devolution, as per finance commission report, two instalments instead of one have gone to all states. Kerala was also benefited from that,” she said.

The Union minister said with regard to Tamil Nadu, the AG’s certificate has been received for 2017-18 and the amount has been released.

Also read: Centre should do away with GST if it cant clear our dues: Bengal CM

Sitharaman’s statement

She said the AG’s certified figure of about Rs 4,223 crore for 2020-21 for Tamil Nadu, even though there are some disputes, has been processed, and it will be cleared.

“But otherwise…all states up to May 2022…every amount has been cleared which is available in the public fund. The total amount given is Rs 86,912 crore that was released by May 31, 2022,” she said.

(With agency inputs)

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