Central GST Revenue Drops  87% In March
Migrant workers and their families carry their luggage while walking through a near-empty Connaught Place during a partial lockdown imposed due to the coronavirus in New Delhi, India. (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)

Central GST Revenue Drops 87% In March

The central government’s share in the goods and services tax for March tumbled 87% over a year earlier as the Covid-19 lockdown stalled economic activity during the month.

The Central GST for March, collected till April 30, stood at Rs 5,934 crore, according to data on Controller General of Accounts’ website. That compares with Rs 46,848 crore in the previous year. The CGA data reveals the financial position from April 1-30.

  • The compensation cess—levied on sin goods—stood at Rs 990 crore against Rs 8,874 crore a year earlier.
  • Integrated GST collected was Rs 9,749 crore.

To be sure, the government didn’t share the monthly GST data for March, collected in April, as it had extended the due date for paying tax until June 30. As the deadline was extended, the numbers would not completely reflect the monthly mop-up, said Rajat Mohan, partner at AMRG & Associates.

Still, the collections point to the scale of impact on the finances of the central government during a month that only saw about a week of complete lockdown. And GST collections were falling short of expectations even before the Covid-19 stress as falling consumption had slowed down economic growth.

The March numbers also suggest that the mop-up would be even more severely impacted from April onwards when the lockdown was complete. The numbers on the CGA’s website indicate as much.

Gross total tax collected for April, including direct and indirect levies, was Rs 67,557 crore compared with Rs 1.21 lakh crore a year ago.

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