The Gross Goods and Services Tax (GST) revenue in February was 26% higher than pre-pandemic levels at ₹1,33,026 crore, the Finance Ministry said.

The collections are 18% higher than February 2021 and mark the fifth time that GST revenues have crossed ₹1.30 lakh crore since its launch in July 2017.

Revenues from import of goods were 38% higher year-on-year, while revenues from domestic transaction (including import of services) were 12% higher than the revenues from these sources during February 2021.

GST Compensation Cess collections crossed ₹10,000 crore in a month for the first time in February, which the Finance Ministry said ‘signifies recovery of certain key sectors, especially, automobile sales’. The cess collections in February were ₹10,340 crore, and included ₹638 crore collected on import of goods.

GST revenues hit a record figure of nearly ₹1.41 lakh crore in January, compared to which February’s collections, reflecting transactions undertaken in January, have moderated by 5.65%.

Seeking to emphasise the significance of these collections, the Ministry pointed out that ‘being a 28-day month, February normally witnesses revenues lower than that in January’.

“This high growth during February 2022 should also be seen in the context of partial lockdowns, weekend and night curfews and various restrictions that were put in place by various States due to the Omicron wave, which peaked around 20th January,” it explained in a statement.

That the GST collections exceeded ₹1.33 lakh crore despite the challenging pandemic situation in January suggests revenues were now ‘on a stable trajectory and the 2021-22 targets would be exceeded’, said M.S. Mani, partner at Deloitte India.

Disparities

However, disparities between the collection trends among the States is a concern. “While on an overall basis, the collections are 18% higher than the same period last year, there is significant divergence amongst States, with increases in the range of 2% to 23% amongst the large States,” he noted.

Among the major industrial States, Maharashtra and Karnataka recorded a 21% increase in GST revenues in February, while the growth rate was far lower at 5% for Tamil Nadu and 8% for Gujarat. Odisha clocked 23% growth in GST revenues, while Telangana and Andhra Pradesh witnessed a growth of 13% and 19%, respectively.

Uttar Pradesh, where Assembly elections are underway, recorded a 9% uptick in revenues, while Punjab recorded 14% growth. West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh GST revenues grew by a mere 2%.



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