West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said that if the Centre does not clear dues that it owes to the state, it may have to stop paying the Goods and Services Tax, or GST.
The Trinamool Congress chief was attending a tribal outreach programme in Jhargram when she alleged that the Centre was not releasing Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, or MGNREGA, funds and called upon Adivasis in the state to protest it.
MGNREGA assures every rural household a minimum of 100 days of unskilled labour work a year. As per the law, the wage, which varies from state to state, has to be credited in the worker’s bank account within 15 days of the completion of the work.
“The 100-day job guarantee scheme funds are mandatory,” Banerjee said. “In spite of that, a year ago, I went and met the Prime Minister regarding this. Should I fall at your feet and beg?”
Banerjee demanded that the Centre should pay West Bengal its dues for the MGNREGA scheme.
“They [Centre] threaten to stop funds to Bengal, we can also stop GST,” the Chief Minister said. “You cannot collect taxes here and withhold our legitimate dues. You are denying the people of Bengal what is their due.”
On August 5, Banerjee had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi where she sought his intervention on release of funds due to West Bengal, reported The Hindu.
“With such large amount of Rs 1,00,968.44 crore remaining outstanding on account of core sectors, you would no doubt appreciate that it is becoming extremely difficult for the State Government to run the affairs and take care of the people of the State,” Banerjee said in a letter to Modi.
The Trinamool Congress leader had said that the Centre owes Rs 17,996.32 crore in funds for schemes like MGNREGA, Awas Yojana and Gramin Sadak Yojana.