The collection of Goods and services tax (GST) saw its worst dip in April as it came down by almost ten times as compared to the usual collection, as curfew was imposed in Chandigarh on account of the pandemic.
Gradually, as enterprises opened up and businesses have picked up in four months time, by July, GST collection has recorded an increase. Officials of the Excise and Taxation department said that the increase in GST collection was a clear indication that sales were coming back to normal.
According to the data accessed by The Indian Express, GST collection in April was Rs 13.92 crore, which otherwise used to be over Rs 100 crore in a month. On an average, there had been a collection of Rs 112 crore every month before the pandemic hit the city.
Details analysed by experts revealed that in May, the situation remained bleak with the revenue increasing slightly. However, it did not reach even half of the usual earnings. In May, GST collection in the city was Rs 43.52 crore. After the curfew was announced, collection was recorded from only essential service providers as all other services remained shut.
The revenue situation improved from June, when the government announced Unlock 1 and the GST collection in Chandigarh showed signs of improvement and the UT recorded a collection of Rs 71.31 crore.
In July, the Chandigarh department recorded a tax revenue collection of Rs 108 crore.
Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner Chandigarh, RK Chaudhary said that tax collection came down due to Covid-19 but now it has come back to normal, as the records show. “It also shows that the sales by shopkeepers and others who have to pay GST have their businesses back on track,” he added.
Chaudhary said that this year they had aimed to improve the collection by Rs 125 crore to Rs 130 crore. “But even now, this is a big achievement for us as our collection has reached the same amount as it used be before,” he said.
The department is hopeful of collecting more taxes now as the bars have been given a go-ahead to open. “Bars in restaurants and hotels are now being permitted to open. So we are hopeful our collection will improve with their opening,” he added.
In March 2019, the UT department had recorded GST collection of Rs 112 crore.
Officials said that had the situation of lockdown continued, the low revenue collection would have had far-reaching implications with severe financial crunch, as hotels and restaurants, non-essential service providers and service stations were shut down due to the pandemic.
On March 24, the Chandigarh administration had imposed a curfew in the city after Covid cases was reported. From May 3 midnight, the curfew was lifted, however, the administration had continued with the imposition of the lockdown.
With the unlock, the odd-even system for shops was imposed in view of the rapidly rising covid cases, however, it was lifted later.
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