West Bengal would support the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST), if it does not bring any revenue loss to the state, Finance Minister Amit Mitra said on Saturday.
Speaking to mediapersons at a pre-budget meeting with various chambers of commerce and small and medium enterprise associations, Mitra said the ruling Trinamool was never opposed to GST but it should not be at the cost of the state’s revenue.
“In 2009, the Trinamool manifesto said that the party supports GST. That is much before talks on GST started. And we stick to our stand. In principle, we are not against GST but it should not be at the cost of losing out on our revenues,” he said.
Asked about Bengal objecting to the implementation of GST, Mitra said: “Objection to GST arises only when the state has to forgo revenues. We are committed to GST in principle but we have to get an assurance that there would be no loss to state’s revenue.”
Mitra, however, did not respond to questions on would represent Bengal at NITI Aayog meetings.
Meanwhile, Bengal’s revenue collection this fiscal is likely to be lower than the projected Rs 45,000 crore, a senior government official said on Saturday. “The target revenue collection for this financial year is Rs 45,000 crore. The collection was Rs 35,000 crore till January, when the end of the fiscal on March 31, 2015, was less than two months away,” he added.
“There is likely to be some shortfall in revenue collection. While excise collection and VAT remained robust, entry tax collection was hit, “ said the official. Finance department sources said that while excise collections have increased by nearly 21 per cent, VAT collections have seen a 14 to 15 per cent jump. “Equally good” has been stamp duty collection, said a source.