KN Balagopal | Photo: Mathrubhumi
Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Finance Minister K N Balagopal on Wednesday refuted the opposition claim in the assembly that the state has not got Rs 25,000 crore from the IGST pool, saying it was a "smokescreen" being created by them.
Balagopal, speaking to reporters within the assembly premises, said that while there were issues with regard to implementation and collection of IGST, these were being worked out and the situation was not as serious as depicted by the opposition.
He said that the opposition claim in the House that such a huge loss has been incurred to the state was 'baseless' and such statements were not politically or constitutionally correct.
The minister said that raising such issues, only to demean and defame the CM and other ministers, indicated the lack of issues with the opposition to discuss in the House.
Balagopal said that the issues of Kerala not getting its share out of the IGST pool and non-functioning of automatic number plate cameras (ANPR) at the borders were issues that have been raised in the past in the assembly by the UDF.
The minister said that all but one ANPR camera -- at Muthanga in Wayanad district -- were functional.
He also pointed out that Kerala was the first state in the country to put in place ANPR cameras.
Balagopal said the tax administration in the state has been improving and the government was working to make it even better.
He also accused the UDF of not protesting against public issues like rising LPG prices nor raising it in the assembly for discussion.
"They (UDF) are only interested in creating misunderstandings and misconceptions," the minister claimed.
During the assembly session, the UDF moved an adjournment motion seeking to discuss the issue of alleged mismanagement in collection of GST and other taxes by the government leading to a loss of Rs 25,000 crore for the state from the IGST pool.
However, permission for the same was denied right at the outset by the Speaker, A N Shamseer, saying that the issue has been raised and debated several times in the House and was not regarding some recent event or incident.
In view of the denial of permission, the opposition staged a walkout in protest against the same.