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FinMin 'embarrassed' PM by putting out GST dues: Chidambaram

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Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram took a dig at the Centre over the Rs 78,704 crore it owes to the states in GST compensationSenior Congress leader P Chidambaram at Parliament House during  the ongoing Budget Session, in New Delhi. Photo: PTI

Senior  leader  on Thursday took a dig at the Centre over the Rs 78,704 crore it owes to the states in  compensation, saying it would be interesting to know why the Finance Ministry "embarrassed" Prime Minister Narendra Modi by putting out the information on the day he chose to "admonish" the states.

The Finance Ministry on Wednesday said the Centre has already released eight months of  compensation dues to the states for the fiscal ended March 2022 and Rs 78,704 crore is pending due to inadequate balance in the cess fund.

On the day the prime minister exhorted states to cut the VAT rate on petrol and diesel, the Finance Ministry announced that the Centre owes Rs 78,704 crore to the states, Chidambaram said.

"The amount owed is actually more. If you add the amounts that the states claim are owed to them, the total amount may be bigger. Only the Controller of Government Accounts (CGA) can certify the correct amount," the former finance minister said on Twitter.

"It will be interesting to know why the MoF embarrassed the PM on the day he chose to admonish the States!" he said.

Flagging higher fuel prices in many opposition-ruled states, Prime Minister Modi on Wednesday called it "injustice" to people living there and urged the governments there to reduce VAT in "national interest" to benefit the common man.

Modi raised the issue of many states not adhering to the Centre's call for reducing the Value Added Tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel after his government slashed excise duties on them in November last, and asked them to work in the spirit of cooperative federalism in this time of global crisis.