THE CHANDIGARH excise and taxation department has reported a cut of eight per cent in the collection of the Goods and Services Tax in just five days since curfew was imposed as its biggest GST generators — the restaurant and bar chains — were shut down in the city due to the corona crisis.
In the month of March alone in 2019, there was a collection of GST of Rs 112 crore. This March, the collection was down by 8 per cent and the collection that came this time, most of it was from the essential service providers as people hoarded stock at their homes.
The department is worried about the month of April now.
“We won’t be able to sustain for a longer period as we will start facing a financial crunch. I agree saving life is the first thing for us but I feel financial implications are going to be heavy. We had to hold auction of liquor vends as well,” a senior official of the excise department said.
The lockdown may have far-reaching implications. “Even if the restaurants, bars and clubs open, people won’t visit them due to physical distancing. Only takeaways will help them earn some income once they are allowed,” the official added.
The excise and taxation department that makes collection of majority of the revenue share is almost shut and all the excise officials are now deployed for making essential services available to people.
“We all are deployed in making the dry ration available to needy. The only tax collection these days is just a bit of what we are getting from essential providers,” he added.
“If this continues we are heading towards a period of recession. However, this is a situation where we all have to be united and deal with it,” the officer added.
Small businesses most affected
Most affected are those in the unorganised sector. Vaishali, a make-up artist who would make about Rs 25,000 every month after going from house to house for providing salon services, says no one has contacted her since March 15.
“I feel our salon business is the most affected. I would pay house rent from what I earned. I don’t know how I would do it now,” she said.
She added, “Even if I am given exemption for this month by my landlord, I will have to pay double the amount of rent whereas my earning would be meagre because of the crisis.”
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