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Explained: What does rise in GST revenue collection indicate?

Though the revenue growth came on a lower base, the average monthly GST collections in the second quarter have improved, rising 5 per cent as against the average GST collection in the first quarter this year.

GST collections at Rs 1,41,384 crore in April this year, accounting for year-end sales, are the highest collections so far in the indirect tax regime. (File)

Gross Goods and Services Tax (GST) revenue collections in September (for sales in August) rose 22.5 per cent year-on-year to Rs 1,17,010 crore. Though the revenue growth came on a lower base, the average monthly GST collections in the second quarter have improved, rising 5 per cent as against the average GST collection in the first quarter this year.

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How much are the GST collections?

Gross GST collections came in at Rs 1,17,010 crore in September, 22.5 per cent higher than Rs 95,480 crore collected in the same period last year. Out of the total Rs 1.17 lakh crore collection, CGST is Rs 20,578 crore, SGST is Ra 26,767 crore, IGST is Rs 60,911 crore (including Rs 29,555 crore collected on import of goods) and cess is Rs 8,754 crore (including Rs 623 crore collected on import of goods).

What does it indicate?

The GST collections have picked up pace in the second quarter indicating an improvement in economic activity. The average monthly gross GST collection for the second quarter this year has been Rs 1.15 lakh crore, which is 5 per cent higher than the average monthly collection of Rs 1.10 lakh crore in the first quarter. “This clearly indicates that the economy is recovering at a fast pace. Coupled with economic growth, anti-evasion activities, especially action against fake billers have also been contributing to the enhanced GST collections. It is expected that the positive trend in the revenues will continue and the second half of the year will post higher revenues,” the Finance Ministry said in a statement.

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GST revenue in September 2020 grew 4 per cent over the revenue of Rs 91,916 crore in September 2019.

Is GST revenue growth a concern?

Though GST revenues are picking up pace after the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, revenue buoyancy under GST is being seen as a concern, especially after the legally mandated compensation to states for revenue shortfall from the GST implementation comes to an end in June 2022.

In a move towards structural overhaul of the GST regime after its July 2017 rollout, a “review” of the current rate slab structure of GST has been explicitly incorporated in the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the two ministerial panels formed for spelling out a blueprint for GST reforms, as per an order dated September 24. The panel’s brief incorporates an overarching mandate: an evaluation of introducing “special rates” within the tax structure, rationalisation measures that include “a merger of tax rate slabs aimed at simplifying the rate structure”, alongside a review of instances of inverted duty structure and an identification of potential sources of evasion to shore up revenues.

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The GST has five key tax slabs: zero, 5 per cent, 12 per cent, 18 per cent and 28 per cent. A compensation cess, ranging between 1 per cent to 290 per cent, is levied on demerit and luxury goods over and above the topmost rate of 28 per cent. A merger of 5 per cent and 12 per cent slabs or 12 per cent and 18 per cent slabs has been deliberated upon earlier as well but has not been taken up formally for a decision.

The Ministry of Finance has constituted a seven-member Group of Ministers (GoM) under Karnataka’s Chief Minister Basavaraj S Bommai for “rate rationalisation” and another eight-member GoM under Maharashtra’s Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar for “GST system reforms”. The GoM on rate rationalisation has been mandated to suggest changes that may be implemented immediately and the roadmap for implementation for the changes that should be implemented in the short and medium term”. The Group will submit an interim report for such immediate measures and will have to submit its report in two months.

First published on: 01-10-2021 at 17:40 IST
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