MUMBAI: Maharashtra collected a record Rs 22,012 crore worth of GST in April when the second wave of the pandemic escalated and the state went into lockdown-style restrictions. This is the highest GST collection in the state in a single month since the GST regime began in 2017.
The April 2021 collections were a steep 380% higher than April 2020 when the country was in lockdown. The collections were also 29% more than March this year.
Officials say typically GST receipts in April are the highest in the year since they reflect transactions made in March, which is the end of the financial year. “The impact of the lockdown-style curbs in Maharashtra will actually be seen in the May GST collections,” said a senior official. “Since March is the last month of the financial year, companies undertake stock clearance and this usually reflects in higher GST revenues in April,” said a senior officer.
In April 2018, the GST receipt was Rs 16,727 crore, while in April 2019, it was Rs 18,123 crore. “In that sense, the record-breaking receipts for April 2021 was on expected lines. GST collection for April has been growing by Rs 2,000 crore each year. Last year was an anomaly because of the national lockdown,” the officer said.
GST is the main revenue earner for the state government. Maharashtra’s GST collections are the highest in the country. Since GST is a consumption-based tax, it reflects purchasing power in the economy. GST includes SGST, CGST, IGST and cess.
Maharashtra had ended pandemic-struck 2020-21 which saw a national lockdown, with GST collections that were 11% lower than 2019. Data showed that the state collected Rs1.6 lakh crore worth of GST in 2020-21 compared to Rs1.8 lakh crore in 2019-20. The receipts had dipped by Rs 20,609 crore. GST collections were the lowest in April and May 2020 during the peak of the national lockdown owing to the lack of economic activity. The main recovery came with the onset of the festive season in October 2020.
When the state budget was tabled on March 8, the target for SGST collections had been revised. Though the target for 2020-21 had been set at Rs 1 lakh crore, the state had collected Rs 88,000 crore. The budget documents said, “The tax collections are not showing the expected buoyancy due to the pandemic and non-receipt of compensation cess from the Central government.”