Gujarat's Chief Minister Narendra Modi during his meeting with Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee here today presented a detailed memorandum to him, making a forceful plea for early solution to issues pending with the Centre.
Since Mr. Mukherjee was once elected to Rajya Sabha from Gujarat, the state expected the Union Minister to have deep understanding of the reasonable demands of a progressive state like Gujarat and its contribution to the nation's economy.
Mr. Modi pointed out that Gujarat has yet to get Rs.2,244-crore rebate on Central Sales Tax (CST) from the Centre pending for the last thee years as was assured by the Centre to State Governments for funding the revenue deficit. Moreover, he said, the States continued to suffer additional burden on revenue deficit following the withdrawal of D-Form.
He said the state also suffered a loss of Rs.2,000-crore due to sudden change in the norms for crude oil royalty from 'market-driven price formula' to 'discounted price formula' since 2008. Gujarat feels the injustice more acutely, vis-a-vis Assam.
Referring to the contribution of Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) ports in the foreign trade of the country, Mr. Modi said the board used to get exemption from Income-Tax under the Central Finance Act, but the burden was imposed in 2008 after the 'local authority' was redefined, despite the apex court's judgment to its favour.
As to the Centre's injustice in the matter of natural gas, he said that Gujarat has to compulsorily buy the gas from Petronet LNG at a higher price, despite being the only state to have laid 1,650-km gas distribution pipeline network across 16 districts, while other states are provided gas at a much cheaper rate from the Reliance's KG Basin. He demanded a minimum allocation of 5-mmscmd gas to the State-promoted Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) from KG Basin.
Mr. Modi drew Mr. Mukherjee's attention to the problem of lakhs of cotton growers of Gujarat following imposition of steep licence fee on export of raw cotton from May 21, 2010, while lifting ban on export, indirectly discouraging export. He demanded immediate withdrawal of the licence fee on cotton. Since Gujarat produces one-third of cotton, the state farmers are the most hit, he said.
The Chief Minister also demanded withdrawal of Income-Tax on urban co-operative banks imposed since April 1, 2009, in the wake of lakhs of poor and middle class depositors depositing over Rs.16,000-crore in as many as 253 such banks in the state.