Ranchi (Jharkhand) [India], October 16 (ANI): After the Union government asked the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to auto-debit Rs 1,417.50 crore as the first instalment from the state's account towards Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) dues, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren on Thursday hit back at the Centre calling it a "veiled conspiracy".
In a statement issued by the Chief Minister's Office, Soren said the central government was trying to trap the Jharkhand government to increase borrowings from markets in the times of economic instability.
"I express my complete anguish and disappointment at this blatant, continuous attempt by the central government to impose fiscal penalties on Jharkhand. It's a veiled conspiracy by the Union government to provoke and trap the state government to increase its borrowing from markets and other instruments in these times of economic instability and fiscal difficulties," he said.
Calling cooperative federalism another failed slogan of the central government, he said on the one hand the Centre is reluctant to pay the Goods and Services Tax (GST) compensation dues to the states, and on the other, it is leaving no stone unturned to ensure auto deduction of money from the state account.
"The Union government has been visibly reluctant to pay the long-standing GST compensation dues with the states stating the COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent impact on revenues. But it is leaving no stone unturned to ensure auto deduction of thousands of crores from the state (account). Cooperative federalism seems to be yet another failed slogan of the central government," The Chief Minister said.
Soren further blamed former chief minister Raghubar Das' government, which signed a Tripartite Agreement (TPA) with the Centre in 2017 for "destroying the basic edifice of cooperative federalism".
"The previous BJP-led Raghubar Das government in Jharkhand, through the TPA signed in 2017, laid the foundation stone towards destroying the basic edifice of cooperative federalism," he added.
On October 12, the Union Ministry of Power had sent a letter to the RBI to invoke TPA for the recovery of Rs 1,417.50 crore to be paid by Jharkhand Bijlee Vitran Nigam Ltd to the DVC.
"Kindly refer to Ministry of Power, Government of India's, (another) letter... dated September 11, 2020, addressed to the Principal Secretary (Energy), Government of Jharkhand, a copy of which was enclosed to you, putting them on notice that in case they fail to make payment of outstanding dues of Rs 5,608.32 crore to (the) DVC, within 15 days from the date of issue of that letter, the central government would invoke the provisions of TPA...," the ministry's letter said.
It then requested the RBI "to debit a sum of Rs 1,417.50 crore as the first instalment in... October 2020 from (the) account of the state government" being maintained by the bank and "credit it into the account of (the) Government of India." (ANI)