Congress members deliberately excluded from GST Council’s GoM, Ashok Gehlot alleges

Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot described it as a deliberate attempt “to keep the principal Opposition party, the Congress, that has three members in the GST Council out of the GoM

On Tuesday, several Congress chief ministers including Ashok Gehlot spoke out against the decision to ‘exclude’ party nominees from the Group of Ministers (GoM) tasked with examining the GST tax waiver and other related matters in light of the pandemic of COVID-19.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot described it as a deliberate attempt “to keep the principal Opposition party, the Congress, that has three members in the GST Council out of the GoM.”

“The Union Government has set up a GoM following the GST Council Meeting of May 28th, 2021. A deliberate attempt has been made to keep the principal Opposition party, the Congress, that has three members in the GST Council out of the GoM,” the Ashok Gehlot tweeted.

He added that only the Bhartiya Janata Party has more members in the GST Council than the Congress party. “Keeping out the Congress members is most unfortunate and strikes at the very roots of cooperative federalism,” he said.

“It is pertinent to mention that from the States of West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu who had taken a stand contrary to that of proposed agenda, none has been included in the GoM,” Ashok Gehlot went on to say.

The Rajasthan CM said the party requests the eight members of the GoM to reflect on the exclusion of the Congress Finance Ministers before they proceed with their deliberations.

“We also urge the members of GoM to take into account views expressed by Rajasthan and other mentioned States, wherein we had asked for Zero Tax Rate for COVID related supplies in public interest,” Gehlot said.

The Ministers of the Congress-ruled States requested at a recent meeting of the GST Council that the GST for all items required to deal with COVID-19 should be merely 0.1 percent.

While Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma, an NDA ally, was made convenor of the GoM, its ministers included finance or other ministers from UP, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, Kerala, Telangana and Goa.

In the case of COVID-19 vaccines, medicine, medical-grade oxygen, pulse oximeters, test kits, hand sanitizers, oxygen therapy equipment, ventilators, and other items, the GoM will assess the requirement for a GST exemption. It has until June 8 to submit a report.

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