New Delhi: GST collection during April-August declined on account of COVID-19 induced lockdown, and the compensation due to states stands at over Rs 1.51 lakh crore, Minister of State for Finance Anurag Singh Thakur said on Monday.
The provisional Goods and Services Tax or GST compensation due to states/UTs for 2020-21 was highest for Maharashtra at Rs 22,485 crore, followed by Karnataka (Rs 13,763 crore), Uttar Pradesh (Rs 11,742 crore), Gujarat (Rs 11,563 crore) and Tamil Nadu (Rs 11,269 crore).
The compensation due to West Bengal stands at Rs 7,750 crore, Kerala (Rs 7,077 crore), Punjab (Rs 6,959 crore), Delhi (Rs 6,931 crore), Rajasthan (Rs 6312 crore), Telangana (Rs 5,424 crore) and Chhattisgarh (Rs 2,827 crore).
The total provisional GST compensation due to 31 states and UTs for 2020-21 put together stands at Rs 1,51,365 crore, as per data shared in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha.
Thakur said the issue of pending compensation and future course of action to meet the shortfall was discussed in the 41st GST Council meeting on August 27 wherein states were given two options to meet their GST compensation shortfall for current fiscal year from market borrowing.
"It was also decided that states will give their preference views thereon. Thereafter on finalisation of scheme, states can choose either Option 1 or Option 2 and accordingly, their compensation, borrowing, repayment etc will be dealt as per their individual choice," he added.
In the current fiscal year, states are staring at a staggering Rs 2.35 lakh crore GST revenue shortfall.
Of this, as per the Centre’s calculation, about Rs 97,000 crore is on account of GST implementation and the rest Rs 1.38 lakh crore is due to the impact of COVID-19 on states' revenues.
In reply to a separate question, Thakur said the total net GST target for the Centre has been pegged at Rs 6,90,500 crore for 2020-21 in the Union Budget.
The actual net GST collection for the Centre till August 2020 is Rs 1,81,050 crore, which shows 26.2% of the Budget Estimates(BE).
"The BEs for FY 2020-21 of GST in the Union Budget, 2020-21 were projected on the basis of assumption of higher growth of GDP, however as per CSO, MoS&PI ... the Nominal GDP for Q1 (April-June), 2020-21 shows a contraction of 22.6 per cent which is one of the major reasons for revenue shortfall in GST.
"Other reasons for low tax collection inter-alia include nationwide lockdown measures implemented since March 2020 consequent to global COVID-19 pandemic which led to limited economic activities, extension of GST return filings timelines without payment of interest, late fee or penalty etc," Thakur said.
Oil Import Bill Declines by Two-Third
India's crude oil import bill fell to a third in the first four months of the current fiscal after international oil rates nosedived on demand evaporating due to the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic and ensuing lockdowns, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Monday.
India spent $12.4 billion on importing 57.2 million tonnes of crude oil during April-July as opposed to $36.2 billion expenditure on import of 74.9 million tonnes in the same period a year back, he said in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha.
The basket of crude oil India imports had averaged $64.31 per barrel in January 2020, which fell to $33.36 a barrel in March when the pandemic spread globally.
In April, it plunged to a two-decade low of $19.90 per barrel as lockdowns globally shuttered economic activity, sending demand crashing down.
Pradhan said rates began to recover in May with Indian basket averaging $30.60 per barrel. This rose to $ 40.62 in June, $43.35 in July, and $44.19 in August.
India is 85% dependent on imported crude oil to meet its fuel needs.
A nationwide lockdown almost halved India's fuel consumption to 9.89 million tonnes in April.
20 CPSEs, Units in Pipeline for Strategic Sale
As many as 20 Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) and their units are at various stages of strategic disinvestment, while six are being considered for closure or are under litigation, Minister of State for Finance Anurag Singh Thakur said on Monday.
In a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, Singh said: "Based on the criteria laid down by NITI Aayog, the Government has 'in principle' approved strategic disinvestment in 34 cases since 2016, out of which strategic disinvestment in 8 cases has been completed, 6 CPSEs are under consideration for closure and litigation, and remaining 20 transactions are at various stages," Singh said.
The CPSEs which are under consideration for closure/ under litigation are Hindustan Fluorocarbon Ltd (HFL), Scooters India, Bharat Pumps & Compressors Ltd, Hindustan Prefab, Hindustan Newsprint, and Karnataka Antibiotics & Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
The transactions which are in process are Project & Development India Ltd, Engineering Project (India) Ltd, Bridge and Roof Co India Ltd, Units of Cement Corporation of India Ltd (CCI), Central Electronics Ltd, Bharat Earth Movers Ltd (BEML), Ferro Scrap Nigam Ltd, Nagarnar Steel Plant of NMDC.
Also, the strategic sale of Alloy Steel Plant, Durgapur; Salem Steel Plant; Bhadrawati units of SAIL, Pawan Hans, Air India and its five subsidiaries and one JV (joint venture) are under process.
Besides, HLL Life Care Ltd, Indian Medicine & Pharmaceuticals Corporation Ltd, various units of Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), Hindustan Antibiotics, Bengal Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (except Numaligarh Refinery Limited), BPCL stake in Numaligarh Refinery Limited to a CPSE strategic buyer, Shipping Corporation of India, Container Corporation of India and Neelachal Ispat Nigam Ltd are candidates for strategic sale.
The CPSEs whose strategic sale has been completed are HPCL, REC, Hospital Services Consultancy, National Project Construction Corporation, Dredging Corporation, THDC India Ltd, North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited (NEEPCO) and Kamarajar Port.
Asked what steps are being taken by the government to safeguard employees' interest, Singh said: "While deciding the terms and conditions of the strategic sale, employees' concerns are suitably addressed through appropriate provisions made in the Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) to be signed by the Government with the strategic buyer."
FDI Inflow From China Falls in FY20
There has been decline in foreign direct inflow from China in the past three years with FDI coming down to $163.77 million in 2019-20, Minister of State for Finance Anurag Singh Thakur informed Lok Sabha on Monday.
Giving details of the total foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow from Chinese companies in India, he said, it was $350.22 million in 2017-18, while it declined to $229 million in the following year.
During 2019-20, FDI further came down to $163.77 million, he said in a written reply on the first day of the monsoon session.
With regard to outflow from India, he said, it was $20.63 million in calendar year 2020 against $27.57 million in the corresponding period last year.
To curb opportunistic takeovers or acquisitions of Indian companies due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the government issued Press Note 3 earlier this year, he said.
Replying to another question, Thakur said, the Department of Expenditure has released the central share of State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) to the states including Maharashtra in the first week of April 2020 in the view of the pandemic.
Further, to provide additional resources to states to fight against COVID-19 and considering the request of the states for relaxation of the existing Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act (FRBM) limit of 3% of gross state domestic product (GSDP), additional borrowing limit of up to 2% of GSDP has been allowed to states for the year 2020-21, he said.
Out of the additional borrowing limit of 2% of GSDP allowed to states, consent of 0.50 per cent of GSDP amounting to Rs 1,06,830 crore has already been issued to the states including the consent of Rs 15,394 crore to Maharashtra to raise open market borrowing (OMB) during the year 2020-21, he added.
Bills on Homeopathy, Indian System of Medicine Passed
The Lok Sabha on Monday passed the National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill and the National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill.
Rajya Sabha had passed them earlier, and the lower house' nod to the two proposed legislations mean that they are set to become laws after getting formal approval from President Ram Nath Kovind.
Some opposition members protested against the Bill, saying the Centre needed to undertake wider consultation.
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said the proposed laws will help in better administration of homeopathy and Indian system of medicines.
The proposed legislations promote “equitable and universal healthcare that encourages community health perspective and make services of such medical professionals accessible to all citizens”, the Union government has said.
EPF Members Withdraw Rs 39.4K Crore from Mar 25-Aug 31
Employees provident fund (EPF) members withdrew Rs 39,402.94 crore between March 25 and August 31, Parliament was informed on Monday.
The government had imposed the nationwide lockdown on March 25, 2020, to contain the deadly coronavirus.
Total withdrawals from EPF accounts stood at Rs 39,402.94 crore from March 25 to August 31 this year, Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.
The maximum amount of EPF withdrawals from March 25 to August 31 were recorded in Maharasthra Rs 7,837.85 crore, followed by Karanataka - Rs 5,743.96 crore and Tamil Nadu (including Puducherry) - Rs 4,984.51 crore.
The total EPF withdrawals in Delhi during the period stood at Rs 2,940.97 crore.