NEW DELHI: India’s monthly goods and services tax (GST) collections crossed Rs 1 lakh crore for the first time in April, indicating that the indirect tax regime was stabilising and that economic revival was picking up pace. GST was rolled out across the country on July 1last year. Gross GST revenue in April stood at Rs 1.03 lakh crore, the finance ministry said in a statement, against a monthly average of Rs 90,000 crore in the July-March period. April collections are for the month of March.
“GST collections in April exceeding Rs 1 lakh crore is a landmark achievement and a confirmation of increased economic activity as brought out by other reports,” finance minister Arun Jaitley tweeted. “With the improved economic climate, introduction of eway bill and improved GST compliance, GST collections would continue to show a positive trend.” The economy is widely forecast to grow around 7.4% in the current fiscal, up from 6.6% in FY18. Industrial production has exceeded 7% in the three months to February.
The finance ministry also attributed the rise to an economic upswing but struck a note of caution on the numbers, saying some of this could be attributed to arrears from previous months. “The buoyancy in the tax revenue of GST reflects the upswing in the economy and better compliance,” the ministry said in a release. “However, it is usually noticed that in the last month of the financial year, people also try to pay arrears of some of the previous months.”
“Therefore, this month’s revenue cannot be taken as a trend for the future,” the ministry said. Experts were more upbeat as the phased rollout of e-way bills—which facilitate GST on goods being transported across states and within them—from April 1 is expected to help curb tax evasion even further.