Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday discussed with Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa about flood rehabilitation efforts but indicated that the crucial GST Bill, which is stuck in Parliament, did not figure in the meeting.
The chief minister also sought an interim assistance of Rs 2,000 crore from the Centre as she apprised Jaitley of the “calamity of unprecedented magnitude”.
“The principal purpose of the visit has been to assist (Tamil Nadu) in terms of the recent natural calamity and our emphasis has been on that,” Jaitley told reporters after emerging from the discussions at the Secretariat in Chennai which lasted about 45 minutes.
He was responding to a specific query on whether the GST Bill was discussed with the AIADMK supremo, whose party has a combined strength of 49 MPs in the two Houses of Parliament.
The GST Bill is stuck in Rajya Sabha, where the ruling NDA does not have a majority even as it faces stiff opposition from Congress.
The meeting between Jayalalithaa and Jaitley is the second one this year as the finance minister had called on her at her Poes Garden residence in January amidst efforts by NDA to garner support for various Bills in Parliament.
Meanwhile, a statement from the state government also said that the meeting between the two leaders was focused around the recent floods that wreaked devastation in the four districts of Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur and Cuddalore.
Jayalalithaa “apprised the Union finance minister of the calamity of unprecedented magnitude that struck” these districts, it said.
The chief minister also sought an interim assistance of Rs 2,000 crore, it said, adding that the government was preparing a detailed loss estimate of over Rs 8,000 crore.