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NCP state chief and Minister of Water Resources Jayant Patil has attacked the BJP led Centre for delays in clearing GST dues worth Rs 27,000 crore. He hinted that further delays will put tremendous pressure on the finalization of the state budget to be presented for year 2021-22 in the budget session of the state legislature beginning on March 1. The payment of arrears towards GST compensation is despite repeated reminders by the state government.

Patil’s statement is important as the state government has a revenue shortfall of almost Rs 49,000 crore during April-December 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown. The economic slowdown has adversely impacted the state economy. The government’s borrowings during the same period were reported at Rs 73,500 crore against Rs 18,000 crore during the corresponding period last year.

However, the silver lining is Maharashtra continues to top the list for GST collection, raking in Rs 17,699 crore in December 2020 as against Rs 15,001 crore in 2019, an increase of a record 17.98 per cent . In October, the state’s GST revenue collection was Rs 15,799 crore against Rs 15,109 cr in October 2019 (5 per cent), in September 2020, it was Rs 13,546 crore as against Rs 13,579 crore in September 2019 (o per cent), in August, Rs 11,602 crore as against Rs 13,407 crore (minus 13 percent), in July, Rs 12,508 crore as against Rs 15,102 crore (minus 17 percent) and in June, Rs 14,987 crore as against Rs 15,143 crore (minus 1 percent).

However, a finance department officer told Free Press Journal, ‘’ This is not enough as the revenue collection through stamps and registration, excise and motor vehicle tax are still falling short of the target fixed for 2020-21. If the Centre clears the GST compensation earliest, it will ease financial crunch.’’ He added that the government may soon send a reminder to the Centre.

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Free Press Journal