Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said that a total of ₹86,912 crore had been released towards Goods and Services Tax (GST) compensation payable to all States up to May 31, 2022, but it had been delayed for some States due to the non-availability of the Accountant General’s (AG) authenticated certificate.
Ms. Sitharaman was replying to a question by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader A. Raja during Question Hour in the Lok Sabha over whether it was possible to release the GST compensation amount “in anticipation” of the AG’s report as some States were facing financial distress.
“So, if it is possible, let it be released in anticipation of the AG report. And thereafter, we can reconsider the AG report with figures. These are my suggestions,” Mr. Raja said.
The Finance Minister replied that as per law, it was the GST Council that decided to whom the compensation was released, and not the Central government.
“AG’s certification is [mandatory] by law between the Centre, States and the AG, and it’s an agreed process. So, unless the authentication is given by the AG…,” Ms. Sitharaman remarked.
She said that if there was any delay in securing the AG’s authentication, it was a matter between the AG and the State government concerned, and they had to sort it out. “If between them there is a problem, the authentication certificate gets delayed in reaching the Central government,” the Finance Minister said.
She said that as far as Tamil Nadu was concerned, the AG’s certificate had been received for 2017-18 and the amount had been released.
Ms. Sithraman added that the AG’s certified figure of about ₹4,223 crore for 2020-21 for Tamil Nadu, even though there were some disputes, had been processed and it would be cleared.
Replying to a supplementary question by Kerala MP N.K. Premachandran, the Finance Minister pointed out that Kerala had not sent the AG’s certificate for GST compensation for 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21.
“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 the Finance Commission’s report, two installments instead of one have gone to all States. Kerala has also benefited from that,” Ms. Sitharaman said.
“The State governments have to, pardon me using the word, be efficient to sort out things with the AG. But without AG certificate, beyond certain limits, it is very difficult for me to go,” she said.
Overall, all States up to May 2022 for which payment is sent out in early June, every amount available in the public fund, had been cleared, she said. “The total amount given is ₹86,912 crore that was released by May 31, 2022,” Ms. Sitharaman said.