States’ GST revenue shortfall may be lower by up to ₹ 40,000 crore this fiscal

The centre had set up a special window to borrow funds and pass on to the states.

The GST revenue shortfall faced by states is likely to reduce by about ₹ 40,000 crore in the current fiscal on improved collections over the past four months, an official said. The sharp decline in GST collections was estimated to lead to ₹ 1.80 lakh crore shortfall in GST revenues of states. This includes ₹ 1.10 lakh crore revenue loss on account of GST implementation and ₹ 70,000 crore on account of COVID-19 pandemic. The centre had set up a special window to borrow funds and pass on to the states for meeting the ₹ 1.10 lakh crore GST revenue loss. The official said that improved goods and services tax (GST) collections could bring down the total shortfall amount to around ₹ 1.40 lakh crore.“We have done some calculations which show that the shortfall could be lower by about ₹ 30,000-40,000 crore in the current fiscal,” the official told PTI. The official further said that ₹ 1.10 lakh crore would be borrowed through the special window as planned and higher mop-up would be utilised to compensate for the loss of revenue due to COVID-19. The centre has already borrowed and releases to the states ₹ 1 lakh crore under the special window. The official further said that for next fiscal beginning April 1, the GST council will decide on the mechanism for compensating states in its upcoming meeting in March.“The revenue loss next fiscal would be much less compared to this fiscal. However, meeting the 14 % revenue growth would be difficult,” the official added. Under GST law, states were guaranteed to be compensated bi-monthly for any loss of revenue in the first five years of the GST implementation from July 1, 2017. The shortfall is calculated assuming a 14 % annual growth in GST collections by states over the base year of 2015-16. GST collections, which directly reflect the state of economic activity, had plummeted to a record low of ₹ 32,172 crore in April 2020, after the government imposed a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus. Since then, collections started picking up; and the four straight months of October to January recorded over ₹ 1 lakh crore mop-up. The revenues in January are at record high of ₹ 1.20 lakh crore.