NEW DELHI: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recently revealed that some states got more than their fair share of Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) while some others received less.
While she assured the short-credited states that the entire unsettled IGST dues since 2017-18 totalling Rs 24,000 crore will be disbursed in a week’s time, she said those who were given excess money will not have to return it.
The finance ministry has blamed devolution error for the payout mismatch but a cursory look at the list of states that were short-changed and those that got a windfall shows a possible political bias.
According to data reviewed by TNIE, most states that got excess IGST are BJP-ruled ones, while those who lost out have other parties in power.
Andhra Pradesh was short-credited Rs 4,800 crore, Tamil Nadu Rs 4,231 crore, Delhi Rs 3,000 crore, Telangana Rs 2,638 crore, Kerala Rs 900 crore and West Bengal Rs 560 crore.
At the end of 2017-18, unsettled IGST of Rs 1,76,688 crore was transferred to states. But some states were credited excess money while some others got less.
According to the finance ministry, the mix-up happened because there was no formula for the distribution of IGST between states and the Centre at that time.
But was it merely a technical error? According to the latest CAG report, even after a formula for devolution was arrived at, it was not followed properly.
Among the states that received excess IGST in FY18 are Bihar, where NDA is in power (Rs 2,900 crore) and Chhattisgarh (Rs 915 crore).
“It was only for 2017-18 when there was a BJP government in Chhattisgarh that the state got Rs 915 crore extra as IGST,” said T S Singh Deo, commercial tax minister.
Maharashtra received Rs 3,000 crore more in 2017-18, when the Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP government was in power. But after government changed the following year, the state was not paid IGST dues.
“We are yet to get Rs 9,000 crore from the Centre,” said Rajgopal Devara, principal secretary (finance), Maharashtra
(With inputs from Mumbai, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Kochi, Raipur and Kolkata)