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Economic revival seen as April GST mop-up crosses ?1-lakh cr

Jaitley calls it a ‘landmark achievement’; experts say better compliance, e-way bill enforcement bode well for the future
Riding on improved compliance and an upswing in economic activity, GST revenues came in at a record ?1,03,458 crore in April (for March 2018 economic activity), official data released on Tuesday showed.
The average monthly GST collection so far has been ?89,885 crore. The collections in April — the highest-ever since the GST launch in July 1 last year — were also bolstered by the ‘March effect’, when companies generally pump up sales to boost their annual performance.
In addition, March would have seen some arrears payments and adjustments, leading to an uptick in collections. The April 2018 collection, therefore, cannot be taken as a trend for the future, said the Finance Ministry.
But indirect tax experts feel it is sustainable in the coming months, given that anti-evasion measures like e-way bills have been implemented.
The April GST collection is a “landmark achievement” and a confirmation of increased economic activity, tweeted Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. With the improved economic climate, introduction of e-way bill and improved compliance, GST collections will continue to show a positive trend, he added.
Of the ?1.03 lakh crore collection in April, the share of CGST was ?18,652 crore, SGST ?25,704 crore, IGST ?50,548 crore (including ?21,246 crore collected on imports) and cess ?8,554 crore (including ?702 crore collected on imports).
The number of GSTR 3B returns for March filed up to April 30 was 60.47 lakh, against the 87.12 lakh who are eligible to do so, representing a compliance rate of 69.5 per cent.
April was also the month for composition dealers to file quarterly returns. Of the 19.31 lakh composition dealers, 11.47 lakh, or 59.4 per cent, filed GSTR 4 and paid a tax of ?579 crore.
The total revenue earned by the Centre and the State governments after settlement in April is ?32,493 crore for CGST and ?40,257 crore for SGST.
Stablisation phase
MS Mani, Partner, Deloitte India, said a significant milestone has been crossed, and even excluding the year-end impact, GST revenues may have stabilised. “The revenue collections for the coming months will factor the e-way bill impact and will be on the upswing,” he said.
Pratik Jain, Partner and Leader, Indirect Tax, PwC, said: “Though there may have been some impact of year-end push and adjustments (in improved collections), compliance is steadily improving.” Abhishek Jain, Partner, EY, said:
“Revenue collections in April have shown phenomenal buoyancy as compared to the previous months.” With anti-evasion measures like e-way bill already introduced and others like TDS, TCS and credit matching expected to be introduced in the coming months, the government can hope for very good GST collections in this fiscal, he added.