Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot Wednesday said he has written 25-30 letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, including about the pending GST payments to Rajasthan, but hasn’t received a response.
In an online meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Chief Ministers of Opposition-ruled states, Gehlot said, “Rs 6,990 crore of GST is pending and there is no reply. We have perhaps written 25-30 letters to the Prime Minister but we get no responses. If a CM writes a letter and there is no response, what can be expected from the (central) government? The promises made regarding GST aren’t being fulfilled…federal structure of the country is being blown to smithereens.”
“It is saddening how corona has affected the states and they’re fighting but the Centre couldn’t do anything beyond video conferencing. No attention was paid to the suggestions we had given,” he said.
“And the Rs 20 lakh crore package was announced… has had no impact. There is no grant or subsidy. The situation of the states is worsening and the promises we made to the public through our budget, the commitments we had made (look difficult to fulfill now). Everyone knows that the revenue of states is down to 40 per cent. Without help from the central government, the states cannot fulfil their commitments. We now have to slash the budget and are undertaking austerity measures. It will take time for revenue to recover,” he said.
The Chief Minister said the borrowing limit for states has been increased from 3 per cent to 5 per cent of state GDP “but such conditions were set that they can never be fulfilled”. “We also sought a six-month moratorium on debt of the state government but they didn’t care about it,” he said.
“The condition of states is such that there is a problem of liquidity. We now face the question of how to pay salaries on time,” Gehlot said, adding that the state’s share in central taxes has gone down by Rs 800 crore in a month.
“So we are surrounded on all four sides but the (central) government isn’t concerned. It is concerned about how to topple governments,” Gehlot said.
“If the Indian government doesn’t take timely steps, the situation can worsen, law and order situation can worsen because till now we have done such good work that the public has maintained peace. Time has come for all the (Opposition) CMs to meet the Prime Minister and the President. We will have to make it an issue. Without making it an issue… they won’t pay attention,” he said.
“What should we expect from this government; because ever since the government was formed in 2014, its attitude is such that people are feeling suffocated. If we speak, then to whom? And if we speak, will anyone listen? And then corona came,” the Rajasthan Chief Minister.