New Delhi: Key UPA constituent Trinamool
Congress today attacked the government in the Rajya Sabha,
accusing it of taking unilateral decisions on crucial issues
like Central Sales Tax (CST) and questioning if this was the
"operative federalism" where states are denied their rights.
"You know what is happening on the CST...The states, in
fact, are losing money, and a unilateral decision has been
made not to give the states what is actually due to them,"
Trinamool member Derek O`Brien said while participating in the
debate on General Budget.
Citing the case of Trinamool Congress-ruled West Bengal,
he said the loss amounts to Rs 1,200 crore. "If you look at
some of the other states, it is between Rs 800-1,200 and Rs
1,500 crore," he said, adding "this has been done
O`Brien rejected Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee`s
contention that CST was reduced from four to two per cent on
the recommendation of the Empowered Committee of Finance
Ministers, asking, "then, how come the service tax
recommendation made by the same committee this year was not
He said, "so, the first question we need to ask ourselves,
is this operative federalism denying the states of what really
belongs to them by unilaterally taking these decisions?"
The Trinamool member said he suspected some "devious
intention" even in the proposed General Sales Tax (GST) "and
that is why we were not as gung-ho" about it.
He also voiced unhappiness over the Rs 600 crore budgetary
provision for the green revolution in eastern India, arguing
that it was not sufficient.
"Paddy production went up by seven million, thanks to Rs
400 crore which was pumped in last year. What is the figure
this year?...this year is paltry, Rs 600 crore," O`Brien said
and asked the Finance Minister to look at the budget through
the "prism of operative federalism".
O`Brien also asked the Finance Minister to bring down the
interest rates on loans under Rural Infrastructure Development
Fund to 6.5 per cent from 9.5 per cent now.