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Last Updated Saturday May 27 2017 12:13 AM IST

States force Center to delete minutes of last GST Council meet

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States force Center to delete minutes of last GST Council meet

Udaipur: In a first, Opposition-ruled states Friday got the Center to delete from the records three minutes of the last GST Council meeting that provided for tweaking of agreed criteria for division of taxpayers under the Goods and Service Tax regime.

The all-powerful GST Council, headed by union finance minister Arun Jaitley and comprising representatives of all states, had in its last meeting on January 16 agreed that 90 percent of tax assessees below Rs 1.5 crore annual turnover will be assessed by states and the remaining 10 percent by the Center.

For taxpayers with over Rs 1.5 crore turnover, the split was 50:50 between the Center and states.

But the minutes of that meeting, which came up for approval at the 10th GST Council meet Friday, gave states a leeway to split the assessees in a different ratio in consultation with the Center.

This was strongly opposed by Opposition-ruled states like Delhi, West Bengal, Kerala and Karnataka which felt the reported 'minutes of the meeting' do not reflect the decision taken at the GST Council.

This, along with two other minutes, was dropped in today's meeting, a minister of an Opposition-ruled state told reporters here.

"The 90:10 division (of assessees with turnover below Rs 1.5 crore) and 50:50 (for assessees with over Rs 1.5 crore turnover) was decided but it was not decided that any one state can sit with the Center and decide to rework (the division) on its own," he said, adding that it was not discussed in the last meeting.

The minister further said that BJP-ruled states had at the last meeting stated that they don't want control over small businesses and the states said that it shouldn't be made part of the Council minutes.

The Center was originally not in favor of a horizontal split of control of assessees under the dual control or cross empowerment but had to give into states' demand in the last meeting.

The minister said now the Center by tweaking the minutes is trying to keep the issue open ended "so that later they can exert pressure through taxmen and CBI and ask other states to also give up their powers".

"This is a political gimmick to increase Center's powers by turning 90:10 into 50:50. What is the role of GST council then if the states individually come and decide," he added.

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