The Goods and Services (GST) collections for October (collected in November) dropped to Rs 97,637 crore from Rs 1 lakh crore collected in the previous month. The latest figures released by the finance ministry have sustained worries over a major GST revenue deficit for the Centre , although November collections were marginally higher than the monthly average of Rs 97,039 crore in the April-November period. While the monthly gross (pre-devolution) GST revenue (excluding cess) for the Centre to meet its budget estimate is a little over Rs 54,000 crore, the total revenue earned by the Centre in regular settlement of IGST in November was just Rs 35,073 crore. The Centre’s revenue after settlement in October (November taxes) was Rs 48,954 crore and the average in the first eight months of this fiscal stands at Rs 38,500 crore.
While gross GST collections of a little over Rs 1 lakh crore/month are estimated to be what is required to wipe out a shortfall, the collections breached the threshold only twice since the tax’s July 2017 launch — March 2018 (collected in May) and September 2018 (collected in October). However, both these were special months for accounting settlements.
GST revenue shortfall is more of an issue for the Centre than the states as the latter are compensated for any shortfall from 14% annual growth. As per a government release , “The total number of GSTR 3B returns filed for October up to November 30, 2018, is 69.6 lakh.” Compensation released to states for the August-September period stood at Rs 11,922 crore.
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Of the Rs 97,637 crore collected, central GST (CGST) collection is Rs 16,812 crore, state GST (SGST) is Rs 23,070 crore, integrated GST (IGST) is Rs 49,726 crore (including Rs 24,133 crore collected on imports) and cess is Rs 8,031 crore (including Rs 842 crore collected on imports). The total revenue earned by the central government and state governments after regular settlement in November 2018 is Rs 35,073 crore for CGST and Rs 38,774 crore for SGST. Commenting of the number, EY tax partner Abhishek Jain said: “While GST collections have fallen vis-a-vis the earlier month, it is higher than the average monthly collection in the year. This steady increase in average collection raises hopes of a regular monthly collection of Rs 1 lakh crore.”