CABINET EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER FISCAL LOSSES TRIGGERED BY COVID CRISIS
SEEKS COMPENSATION FROM GOI TO HELP STATE TIDE OVER PREVAILING DIFFICULT TIMES
Chandigarh, (Gurpreet): Citing the huge revenue losses suffered by the state government on account of the Covid pandemic and the resultant lockdown, the Punjab Cabinet on Tuesday sought adequate compensation from the Government of India to support the state in these difficult times.
During a review of the fiscal situation amid the pandemic, the Cabinet, under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, noted that the situation was grave, considering the decline in revenue collections over the first quarter of FY 2020-21 and the estimated losses for the full current financial year.
A presentation made to the Cabinet by the Finance Department showed that the state’s own tax revenue collections for the April-June 2020 period had gone down by a whopping 51%, with GST losses alone to the tune of 61% as against the budgetary estimates for this period. GST and VAT revenue collections for this quarter together went down by 54%. The decline in total revenue receipts for April-June quarter was 21%.
The Council of Ministers further noted with concern that in terms of non-tax revenue collections of the state, the shortfall against budgetary estimates for Q1 of FY 2020-21 was a massive 68%. The figures are as per the initial estimates derived from IFMS (accounts are yet to be received from Accountant General, Punjab).
The situation was extremely grim, the Cabinet observed, calling for fiscal support from the Centre to compensate for these huge losses. The revenue loss would badly impact not just the battle against Covid, which was now peaking in the state, but also obstruct the implementation of key schemes and programmes of the state government in addition of affecting routine expenses, including payment of salaries, pointed out the Council of Ministers.
The Government of India needed to come out with urgent financial help for the state government to tide Punjab over the current crisis, felt the Cabinet.