Amid the COVID-19 crisis, Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal on Saturday stated that the GST Council’s Group of Ministers (GoM) should stop acting like a shahenshah of yesteryears and instead let compassion speak through its decisions.
Stating that all COVID-19 related goods must be zero-rated during the pandemic, the Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, along with other Finance Ministers representing the Indian National Congress (INC), vehemently opposed the imposition of GST on COVID related items at this time of a national crisis and recorded their note of dissent.
The other alternative is to charge 0.1 percent, which is well within the powers of the GST Council, and this measure should be in place till the pandemic is over.
Releasing his remarks and interventions made at the 44th meeting of the GST Council, the Punjab Finance Minister urged the ruling government to include representatives of the Indian National Congress (INC) in the Group of Ministers (GOM).
“It is preposterous that the principal opposition party of India in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha has been excluded in the GoM,” Manpreet Singh Badal said.
The Punjab Finance Minister also enjoined upon the Chairperson to operationalise the position of Vice-Chairperson of the GST Council. Further, the GST Council must have its own secretariat, and it should be empowered to adjudicate on a Dispute Resolution Mechanism where there are divergent views.
He regretted that the GoM is not acting with compassion, and it is parroting the Union Government, perhaps out of the fear that they may not be included from a future GoM.
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