The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council is still a fledgling five-year old institution that has yet to become well-settled, but acts as a vibrant forum for intense interactions between the Centre and the States, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Tuesday.
“GST (Council) is... a five-year-old and I don’t know if it has completely accomplished on very many things which are committed. It’s happening, rapidly happening and there’s a lot of vibrancy in the Council,” Ms. Sitharaman said at the Delhi School of Economics.
Ms. Sitharaman was reacting to a ‘powerful case’ made by Fifteenth Finance Commission chief N.K. Singh to set up a Fiscal Council with the Centre and States, and another such body to act as a bridge between the GST Council and the Finance Commission. She was speaking at a discussion on a book Mr. Singh has co-authored with P.K. Mishra, the principal secretary to the Prime Minister, titled ‘Recalibrate: Changing Paradigms’.
“Interestingly, we have not had the GST Council having a full-fledged, well-developed, ‘it is all settled and it’s running’ kind of a situation yet,” she noted, emphasising that Centre-State interactions were ‘continuously happening’ at the Council.
“The GST Council [meetings] are all intense interactions between the Centre and the States in the capacity of the Council. When we are seated there, we are seated as equal members. There are no artificial lines between the Centre and the States in the Council,” Ms. Sitharaman asserted.