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Covid disruption unlikely to impact April GST collections: SBI Ecowrap

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Even with the new wave of Covid-19 resulting in ‘lockdowns’ in 15 parts of the country and impacting business all across, the country’s GST collections, the barometer of economic activity in India, is likely to cross the Rs 1 lakh crore mark for the sixth time in as many months in April, an SBI Ecowrap report said on Friday.

According to the internal simulation model adopted by SBI Ecowrap, the April GST collection is expected to be in the range of Rs 1.15-1.20 lakh crore. This is marginally short of the record high GST collection in March of Rs 1.24 lakh crore.

The optimism about possible GST collection in April, the report says, is from a healthy growth in E-way bill generation.

“This will be quite impressive given the fact that during April, most of the states imposed partial lockdowns. Also, it is heartening to note that despite the curbs due to the second wave, the All India GST E-way bills till 25 April have reached 4.89 crore and we estimate it to cross 5.5 crore comfortably, given the past trends,” the report said.

“We believe that any disruption in GST collections will be transient and the states will have comfortable SGST collections.”

The present optimism is also on account of trend shown last year, given the SGST collection, allocation of IGST to states and Cess amount, it is around 89 per cent of the budgeted numbers of Rs 6.5 lakh crore. There is a substantial portion of IGST which is unallocated.

“If the 50:50 distribution takes place, then states will be only short by around Rs 6,000 crore, which is quite impressive given the fact that we were amidst a pandemic and stricter lockdown measures were imposed last year,” it said.

Meanwhile, the demand for work by households under MGNREGA increased by 92 per cent to 2.57 crore households in April ’21 (highest in any April since compilation of the data started in 2013) so far, against 1.34 crore in April ’20.

“This indicates the extent of reverse migration from the lockdown states to their native states,” the report said.

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