Officials of the West Bengal finance department were worried about the revenue loss that is expected to continue in May.
The West Bengal government has incurred an estimated revenue loss of over Rs 4,000 crore in April due to the coronavirus-triggered lockdown that caused a massive disruption in economic activities, according to a report. The state is expected to witness high revenue loss in May as the lockdown with some relaxations in economic activities has been extended to contain the coronavirus outbreak, India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) analyst Anuradha Basumatari said.
“In April, the West Bengal government’s estimated revenue loss under state GST is Rs 1,517 crore, state VAT Rs 436 crore, state excise Rs 969 crore, stamp duty and registration Rs 521 crore, vehicle tax Rs 220 crore, electricity duty Rs 214 crore and own non-tax revenue Rs 302 crore,” the analyst said. The total revenue loss for the state government is estimated at Rs 4,179 crore in April, Basumatari said. The report, prepared by the Ind-Ra, also pegged “the revenue loss for the 21 major states in April alone at Rs 97,100 crore”.
Officials of the West Bengal finance department were worried about the revenue loss that is expected to continue in May. The government was expecting to garner some revenue after resumption of liquor sales during the third phase of the lockdown, they said. Liquor sales were also affected due to lack of stock, an official said, adding that the government mopped up around Rs 40 crore from the liquor sales worth Rs 130 crore till May 6. The state power department’s revenue collection has also fallen significantly in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.
The state government has undertaken a slew of austerity measures to deal with the present economic crisis triggered by the lockdown. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had recently said that state has lost Rs 12,000 crore in the last two months in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
A short term plan would be implemented by injecting Rs 1.52 lakh crore financial stimulus into the state’s economy, with special focus on rural sector and MSMEs, she had said.
According to her, the key to revival of the state’s economy lies in strengthening the infrastructure of rural Bengal. During a recent video conference with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the chief minister had urged him to clear dues of about Rs 53,000 crore from the Centre.