Even with MissionBeginAgain launched by unlocking a couple of activities amidst the present COVID-19 pandemic, the Maharashtra government’s revenue collection was -5% at Rs 20,000 crore for November against RS 21,200 crore during the corresponding period last year. State continued to top among all the states in the GST collection, but it dipped by 5% at Rs 15,001 crore in November against Rs 15, 968 crore last year.
State government’s revenue shortfall in absolute terms from April to November, 2020, was over Rs 55,000 crore, but in real terms it was 25%. “The revenue fall in April-September is so huge at 60% and the recovery witnessed since October onwards is 10%. So there is a mismatch. The government was unable to fill up that gap caused mainly because of the coronavirus pandemic, lockdown and economic downturn,’’ said a senior officer from the Finance Department.
He told the Free Press Journal, “Clearly, there is a recovery in the state economy, but it is not enough to fill up the six month’s revenue gap. The government’s borrowings for April-November, 2020, has been Rs 65,500 crore against Rs 22,500 crore during the corresponding period last year. There has been a rise of 189%.’’ He reiterated that, in December, the state government may collect revenue of pre-COVID-19 level, but it will not be sufficient.
The state government has estimated a revenue collection of Rs 3, 47,456.89 crore for 2020-21. CARE Ratings, in its analysis, said the weighted average cost for borrowings in Maharashtra was 7.76% in April, 6.68% in October and 6.51% in November. Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Rajasthan have been the top 5 borrowing states, accounting for nearly 50% of the total borrowings so far in 2020-21.
“States have been resorting to higher market borrowings to meet the shortfalls in their finances consequent to the sharp fall in the revenues due to the lockdown-led disruptions in economic activity along with the increase in expenditure that is being incurred by them for controlling and mitigating the impact of the pandemic,’’ said CARE Ratings in its report. Meanwhile, the officer said, of the total GST arrears of Rs 38,000 crore, the Centre recently released Rs 8,000 crore, so Rs 30,000 crore is still pending.