Chandigarh, February 20 (ANI): Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has requested the Central government to release the pending amount of GST (Goods and Services Tax) compensation to the state, amounting to Rs 8,253 crores for the period April 2020 to January 2021.
In a press release, the Chief Minister reiterated the state's demand for releasing the GST compensation on a monthly basis in the coming fiscal year and sought extension in the period of GST compensation beyond the current five years for states namely Punjab, which has permanently lost a significant portion of their revenue especially on account of subsuming of Purchase Tax on food grains and are staring at a huge revenue shortfall after the end of compensation period.
In his speech submitted at the Niti Aayog meeting, the Chief Minister said the practice of direct transfer of funds under certain central schemes to the implementing agencies by-passing the consolidated fund of the state not only violates the provisions of the Constitution but is also against the spirit of cooperative federalism.
The central government, hence, requested to route all funds pursuant to central schemes only through the consolidated fund of the State, thereby allowing states to monitor the effective implementation of these projects with greater financial accountability and transparency, he said.
Pointing out that the 15th Finance Commission in the final report for the FY 2021-22 to 2025-26, has recommended certain sector-specific and state-specific grants for Punjab, amounting to Rs 3,442 crore and Rs 1,545 crore respectively, however, these have still not been cleared by the central government, he regretted, urging the Centre to provide these specific grants to the state creation of necessary infrastructure and provide the much-needed impetus to its economy.
To further enhance the ease of doing business, which has led to Rs 70,000 crore fresh investments in Punjab in the last 4 years, the Chief Minister suggested that periodic assessment of reducing compliance burden with ministries and agencies of Centre.
Amarinder reiterated his government's demand for according Special Category Status to Punjab, as it is strategically located along the international border. "Allocation of funds as per Special Category Status should be provided to the State to promote its industries, along with capital subsidy, insurance subsidy and reimbursement of GST to the industries coming up in Border and Kandi districts of the State similar to the Industrial Development Scheme for Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand."
He urged the Prime Minister to approve the proposal sent by the State to the Ministry of Jal Shakti on the revised sharing pattern of rural water supply schemes in hilly/sub-montane areas of the State at par with the neighbouring districts of Himachal Pradesh.
Noting that the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways had agreed in principle to declare 7 State Highways and major district roads as National Highways in the State and detailed project reports had been submitted to the Central government, the Chief Minister sought early notification to declare these roads as National Highways.
He took cognisance of the increased focus on online education amid the Covid pandemic and urged the Centre to provide liberal funding for states to implement digital infrastructure, online teaching platform/tools and addressing of digital divide in a bigger way. (ANI)