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Soaring fiscal deficit remains a worry; record-high GST may be a silver lining

Soaring fiscal deficit remains a worry; record-high GST may be a silver lining

Fiscal deficit is languishing at Rs 10,75,507 crore or 135.1 per cent of the budget estimate 2021, as of November 2020. It has largely soared on account of low realisation of revenues because of the COVID-19 pandemic

The government's receipts stand at Rs 8,30,851 crore, which is 37 per cent of budget estimates of the financial year 2021 as of November 2020 The government's receipts stand at Rs 8,30,851 crore, which is 37 per cent of budget estimates of the financial year 2021 as of November 2020

Badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic, the government is under pressure to push economic growt but the daunting fiscal deficit isn't helping.

Fiscal deficit is languishing at Rs 10,75,507 crore or 135.1 per cent of the budget estimate 2021, as of November 2020. It has largely soared on account of low realisation of revenues because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The government's receipts stand at Rs 8,30,851 crore, which is 37 per cent of budget estimates of the financial year 2021 as of November 2020. This includes, Rs 6,88,480 crore tax revenue, Rs 1,24,280 crore of non-tax revenue, and Rs 18,141 of non-debt capital receipts.

However, the rise in GST collections in the recent months can be a silver lining for the government. Although Between April 2020-November 2020, GST collections stood at Rs 6.21 lakh crore. In FY 2019-2020, the government had recorded total Rs 12.22 lakh crore of gross GST collection.

At the beginning of FY21, the government deferred the release of April GST as well as May GST revenue collections due to coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent lockdowns.   

The Centre's share of GST collection in April was a paltry Rs 16,707 crore compared to Rs 55,329 crore in the previous year, a drop of 70 per cent.

However, May's GST collection showed a 107 per cent jump month-on-month as collections increased from Rs 16,707 crore in April 2020 to Rs 34,731 crore in May 2020. However, it was still Rs 15,000 crore lower than the GST collection in May last year.   

In June, the gross GST revenue climbed to Rs 90,917 crore when the unlock phases in the country began.

However, in July again, the GST collection declined in comparison to June and stood at Rs 87,422 crore.

In August, the Centre earned Rs 86,449 crore of gross GST revenue.  In September, the GST revenue jumped to Rs 95,480 crore. However, the revenues were merely four per cent higher than the GST revenues in the same month of the preceding year.

It was in October when the festive season began the GST revenues crossed the Rs 1 lakh crore mark. The gross GST stood at Rs 1.05 lakh crore during the month. The revenues for the month were 10 per cent higher than in October 2019.

In November and December, GST revenues remained above Rs 1 lakh crore. The GST revenue in November was at Rs 1.04 lakh crore, and in December Rs 1.15 lakh crore.

But it was in January, when GST has broken all records and the total collection surged to Rs Rs 1,19,847 crore. Until now, the highest GST collection was of December 2020 and before that it was Rs 1,13,866 crore in April 2019.

The average growth in GST revenues between October-December has been 7.3 per cent as compared to -8.2 per cent during the second quarter (July-September) and -41.0 per cent during the first quarter (April-June) of the financial year.

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