No GST dues pending, some States have not submitted AG’s report: Nirmala Sitharaman

Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaks in the Rajya Sabha during the Winter session of Parliament, in New Delhi, on December 12, 2023.
| Photo Credit: PTI

The Centre on December 12 said no GST dues of any State are pending before it and that some state governments have not submitted AG’s authenticated certificate for release of their share of funds.

The narrative that GST dues are pending from the Centre is not correct and is a “misnomer” as States have not submitted AG’s report, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said replying to a supplementary question in Rajya Sabha.

“It is important to understand that if the AG’s (accountant general) certification is (mandatory)… If the AG’s certificate does not reach us, we can not clear,” she said.

Some states, even after sending AG’s certificate, tell us to hold on till they clear it finally, she said.

The Finance Minister was responding to a question from Trinamool Congress member Saket Gokhale, who asked about the GST dues of States, especially to West Bengal.

He also sought a reason for which the GST dues of the states were withheld.

Replying to it, the Finance Minister said she would specifically name some states “so that there are no doubts in the mind of the people”.

Goa has not submitted AG’s certificate for FY 2017-18, FY 2018-19 and FY 2019-20. It is also yet to send the report for FY 2021-22 and the first quarter of FY 2022-23.

“For 2022-23 no state, except for Karnataka, has given AG’s certificate as yet,” she said.

West Bengal has also not submitted AG’s report from FY 2019-20 to the first quarter of FY 2022-23.

“AG’s certificate has not come from West Bengal, so the amount would not be released,” she said, adding, “to call it pending, I am sorry, its a misnomer. Let them send AG’s certificate, we will clear it.” There are several other states which have not submitted AG’s report.

“Kerala has sent us AG’s certificate but has also told us to hold on till they reconcile the numbers with AG themselves. So we are holding on. It is not pending from our side,” she added.

Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary, who was also in the house, said there are no GST dues of any State government. It has already been given to the concerned states.

“Even some states have not sent their AG’s report, despite that we have made some provisional payments. Once AG’s report is received, they will receive final payment,” he said.

Congress member Rajiv Shukla raised the issue of misuse of arrest provisions and wanted to know the steps that the government is going to take for simplification of the GST filing procedure.

Replying to it, Ms. Sitharaman said the Finance Ministers of State governments, which are part of the GST Council, are being told about the difficulties faced by traders and the business communities on the ground.

“The GST Council does discuss these things and periodically the forms are being simplified accordingly,” she said.

Over the misuse of authority by local officers exceeding his brief, Sitharaman said action had been taken by the council.

The Finance Minister further said she would welcome any member who thinks that there are difficulties faced on the ground, particularly officers who are exceeding their briefs, she would be happy to receive and take action against them.

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