Goa Minister seeks apology from TN FM over remarks at GST Council meet

Goa Transport Minister Mauvin Godinho on Saturday demanded an apology from Tamil Nadu Finance Minister P.T.R. Palanivel Thiagarajan for insulting small states, Goa in particular, during the 43rd GST meeting chaired by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday.

Addressing a press conference here, Godinho, who represents the Goa government at GST Council meetings, said that the TN Finance Minister’s alleged comments dismissing the stature of small states in the Indian Union were condemnable, a day after Godinho and Palanivel Thiagarajan clashed with each other.

“The Finance Minister of Tamil Nadu should apologise. What is he trying to tell me? That he is against the Constitution of the country? Does he not believe in the Constitution of India? Does he not believe in equality before law? Does he not believe that whatever your status, whatever your standing in society, whether your constituency comprises of lakhs of voters or a few thousand voters, everybody has got one vote,” Godinho said.

“I want to remind the new Finance Minister of Tamil Nadu Mr Palanivel, refrain from conducting yourself in a manner as a big brother versus small brother or big state versus small state. We all have equal rights. His attitude should be condemned by one and all right-thinking people. He should not target Goa,” Godinho said.

The Goa Minister said that during the meeting, Palanivel allegedly said that more attention should be paid to the sentiments of bigger states, rather than smaller states like Goa.

“I took offence at yesterday’s meeting because he said ‘what is Goa, it is a small thing, it is a small population. You should listen to me’, he was trying to tell the Union Finance Minister,” Godinho said, recounting the incident at the GST Council meeting on Friday.

The Goa Minister also said that he had pitched for more GST revenue share for Goa on account of the stoppage of the mining industry and the crumbling tourism industry, which has been impacted by the pandemic.

“I was making a case for Goa that we should get special preference because our requirements are small in terms of our finances, devolving to the state from the Centre. I made a case that our mining is literally stopped. During the lockdown there are no tourists, so how is our state going to survive? We need more finances,” Godinho said.