GST collections surged to an all-time high of about Rs 1.20 lakh crore in January as economic activities picked up after the withdrawal of stringent lockdown restrictions.
Mop-up from the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which is levied when a consumable item is sold or a service such as travel booking rendered, in January was 8 per cent higher than such receipts in the same month of 2020.
In a statement, the Finance Ministry said the January collections were the highest ever since the implementation of the nationwide tax in July 2017.
The previous best was in December 2020 when Rs 1,15,174 crore was collected.
This is the fourth straight month of over Rs 1 lakh crore tax collections, a sign of strong recovery.
The ministry said the total number of GSTR-3B Returns filed for the month of December up to January 1, 2021, is 90 lakhs.
"The GST revenues during January 2021 are the highest since the introduction of GST and has almost touched the Rs 1.2 lakh crore mark, exceeding the last month's record collection of Rs 1.15 lakh crore.
GST revenues above Rs 1 lakh crore for a stretch of last four months and a steep increasing trend over this period are clear indicators of rapid economic recovery post pandemic, the ministry said.
Closer monitoring against fake-billing, deep data analytics using data from multiple sources including GST, Income-tax and Customs IT systems and effective tax administration have also contributed to the steady increase in tax revenue over last few months, it added.
GST revenue during October-January has grown on an average of 8 per cent, as compared to (-) 24 per cent during the first half (April-September) of the fiscal year.
“The gross GST revenue collected in the month of January 2021 till 6PM on January 31, 2021, is Rs 1,19,847 crore of which CGST is Rs 21,923 crore, SGST is Rs 29,014 crore, IGST is Rs 60,288 crore (including Rs 27,424 crore collected on import of goods) and Cess is Rs 8,622 crore (including Rs 883 crore collected on import of goods),” the ministry said in a statement.
The number could be upped further as more number of GST sales returns get filed.
GST collections, which directly reflect the state of economic activity, had plummeted to a record low of Rs 32,172 crore in April 2020, after the government imposed a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus.
The lockdown, categorised by several agencies as one of the strictest curbs in the world, pummelled the economy as demand dried up and non-essential businesses were shuttered. In the April-June quarter, the economy contracted by the steepest ever 23.9 per cent.
As restrictions were gradually lifted, many parts of the economy were able to spring back into action although output remains well below the pre-pandemic levels.
Commenting on the GST numbers, Deloitte India Senior Director M S Mani said, “The surge in GST collections observed during the past four months is expected to be sustained in the coming months of the current fiscal with more of service sector activities like aviation, hospitality, entertainment etc opening up across states since January”.
The GST revenue in April-January was down about 12 per cent compared to the same period of the previous year.
GST revenues have topped Rs 1 lakh crore in eight out of 12 months of 2019-20 fiscal. However, in the current fiscal, the revenues have taken a hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Revenue in April was Rs 32,172 crore, followed by Rs 62,151 crore in May, Rs 90,917 crore in June, Rs 87,422 crore in July, and Rs 86,449 crore in August. Collections in September were Rs 95,480 crore, Rs 1,05,155 crore in October, Rs 1,04,963 crore in November and Rs 1,15,174 crore in December.