The outbreak of COVID-19 and the nationwide lockdown imposed to tackle it, brought economic activities to a standstill. This has exacerbated the compensation issue so much so that the Centre now is not in a position to compensate states if the current method of calculation has to be followed.
Sitharaman said states have seven working days to think over the options and decide.
The two options suggested by the GST council are as follows:
Option 1: To provide a special window to states, in consultation with RBI, to provide the Rs 97,000 crore at a reasonable rate of interest; this money can then be repaid after five years from the collection of cess.
Option 2: Entire GST compensation gap of Rs 235,000 crore of this year can be met by the states, in consultation with RBI.
FM Sitharaman said these options will be available to the state only during the current year. The situation will be reviewed next year and the GST Council will meet again soon to take further stock of the situation.
The options were given after the Attorney General clearly stated that the Compensation gap cannot be met from the Consolidated Fund.
The compensation gap of Rs 2.35 lakh crores this year is due to COVID-19 as well and the shortfall in compensation due to the implementation of GST has been estimated to be Rs 97,000 crores.