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Modi ‘undermined’ constitutional authority of GST Council by indicating further cuts in taxes, says Bengal minister Amit Mitra

Kolkata: West Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra on Thursday blamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for undermining the constitutional authority of the GST Council by indicating further cuts in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) ahead of the Council’s scheduled meeting. The 31st GST Council meeting will be held on Saturday in New Delhi.

"The statement of the prime minister made on 18 December just before the GST Council meeting undermines the constitutional authority of the GST Council as it pre-empts the decision-making authority of the council, Mitra told reporters at the secretariat.

 Modi ‘undermined’ constitutional authority of GST Council by indicating further cuts in taxes, says Bengal minister Amit Mitra

File photo of West Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra and chief minister Mamata Banerjee. PTI

The GST Council has been constituted under Article 279A of the Constitution and it can alone which has been constitutionally empowered to decide on the GST rate for goods and services, Mitra said.

The neutrality of the council in the decision-making thus stands severely eroded and will be highly detrimental to the future functioning of the GST Council, he said.

Modi had pledged further rationalisation of the GST rates so that items of regular are kept out of the topmost 28 percent slab.

All things related to common man will be 18 percent or below that 99 percent articles will be 18 percent or below 18 percent rate, Modi had said on Tuesday, adding that GST should be made as simple and as convenient as possible.

Mitra also said that the prime minister has spoken when the Parliament session is on which also violated the parliamentary procedures.

Is there any hidden agenda behind the prime minister giving directive to the finance ministers, he said.

Mitra said that West Bengal government had been demanding a reduction in the GST rates on essential items from 28 percent to 18 percent and from 18 percent to 12 percent.

It is surprising that the prime minister is now demanding what we had urged the Union government to do long back. If our demands were met a year ago, some of the negative effects of the faulty GST could have been avoided and the economy could have been saved, Mitra said. Mitra said he would be participating in the GST Council meeting on Saturday and register his protest in this connection.

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Updated Date: Dec 21, 2018 10:38:46 IST

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