Mumbai: A debt-ridden Maharashtra government has recorded positive growth since the rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on July 1, 2017. The state’s revenue surged by Rs 25,000 crore or 39.52 per cent in the first quarter of the current fiscal year. According to Sudhir Mungantiwar, minister for finance and planning, the reason for the growth is the huge ‘consumer’ population of the state, and the huge per capita income of the state as compared to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
“Critics had said, Maharashtra and Gujarat, which are manufacturing states, would be worst-hit by the GST. But what they forgot was — we have a population of 11.97 crore and these are consumers. We have a per capita income of Rs 1.20 lakh per annum and this buying capacity has played a role in increasing the annual revenue of the state,” said Mungantiwar.
Maharashtra was encumbered by a deficit of Rs 8,500 crore when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government came into power in 2014. In recent history, only Jayant Patil and Ajit Pawar, finance ministers of the state during the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) regime from 1999-2014, had tabled surplus annual budgets, once each.
Mungantiwar alleged, “Patil could table a surplus budget as he had transferred the huge amount collected as Professional Tax (PF) to the income side of the budget, while Pawar had skipped interest on borrowings before March-end and hence, his budget became a surplus one.”
The minister said, “Our revenue growth has reached Rs 1,15,940 crore in the first quarter of the financial year 2017-18, from Rs 90,525.19 crore in 2016-17. We are in surplus now, after the implementation of GST. It is our own revenue share. Between April and June 2017, revenue collection was Rs 25,742.57 crore, which increased to Rs 35,915 crore in the same period in 2018. This is the period before and after the implementation of GST.”
The GDP of the state has jumped to Rs 27,96,000 (27.96 lakh) crore in 2018 from Rs 10,49,000 (10.49 lakh) crore in 2010. Rushing to the defence of the rich and industrialists, Mungantiwar said it was not appropriate to term them “tax chor. In fact, these rich persons have contributed a lot towards the increase in the revenue of the state. On the other hand, politicians who set up sugar factories have failed to pay taxes and repay bank loans.” He added, “These are the main culprits and I have asked Subhash Deshmukh, minister for cooperative, textile and marketing, to publish a white paper on how many cooperative factories had not paid taxes and loans.”