Wednesday, October 21, 2020 9:29:50 AM

Left parties slam Nirmala Sitharaman for ‘act of God’ comment

News Desk
Friday, August 28, 2020


The Left parties slammed Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for her admission during Thursday’s GST Council meeting that the Centre would be unable to pay the dues to States. The parties said it is “unethical” and “obnoxious” to push the responsibility entirely on the State governments. Also read: Borrow from RBI to bridge GST gap, Centre tells States Ms. Sitharaman blamed the COVID-19 pandemic — which she called an “act of God” — for the GST revenue shortfall, and said her government is unable to pay the dues that it owes to the States.

Legal obligation “Telling the States to borrow from the RBI to bridge this gap is obnoxious. The central government is legally bound to fulfil its obligations of payment of GST dues. If needed, the central government must borrow and pay the States their dues and cannot force the State governments to borrow,” the CPI (M) Polit Bureau said in a statement here. EXPAND The party said the central government must fulfil its legally binding obligations to the States. “Having plunged the Indian economy towards recession even before the pandemic arrived, now to blame some “divine intervention” for the central government’s inability to fulfil its obligations, is simply unacceptable,” the statement said.

Also read: Centre can't be held liable for revenue loss in pandemic, Himanta told GST Council ‘Blatantly incorrect’ CPI General Secretary D. Raja said the Finance Minister’s statement was “unprecedented”. “The Finance Minister’s averment that the pandemic is an ‘act of god’ and therefore, the central government is not liable to pay the compensation is blatantly incorrect and unethical,” Mr. Raja said. Asking State governments to borrow from the market is adding additional financial liabilities on the State finances. “The surreptitious attempt by the central government to run away from its responsibilities is not just unethical and an affront on the federal structure of the country.,” he added.