By Ashwini Agarwal
First publised on 2023-11-03 07:51:36
In a welcome development, GST collections in October (for sales in September) rose 13.4% year-on-year to Rs 1.72 lakh crore. This was the highest year-on-year growth in 10 months and the second highest collection in a month after April 2023 (Rs 1.87 lakh crore). It is believed that the surge in collection was mainly due to some pre-festival sales and adjustments due to quarter ending following a spate of notices to entities for compliance. But there is no denying that consumption and economic activity has also picked up considerably.
With sales in October (Navratri and Durga Puja), November (Diwali) and December (Christmas and New Year) expected to touch new highs (which is indicated in excellent sales in automobile, mobile phone, clothing and white goods sectors), the collections going forward are expected to be even better and might surpass the record set in April 2023.
The authorities have started sending notices to registered entities for non-payment, underpayment and wrongful claim of input tax. With September being the last month of the July-September quarter, many such entities have made adjustments accordingly and have complied with the notices. This has led to a part of the surge in collections last month. Also, the limitation of disputes raised in FY 2017-18 was ending in September so a part of the collection was also on account of settlement for that period.
With GST collections already reaching 60% of the budgeted estimates for this FY, experts predict that the total collections for the FY will exceed the estimates. This will provide relief to the government which is strapped for cash as its disinvestment plans for the year have not, and are not likely to be, met and direct tax collections have also not grown as expected.