Amid crisis, Punjab takes Rs 19,000 cr hit in revenue

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While Punjab has been hit hard by the COVID-induced economic crisis this year, the state’s revenue collections fell by a whopping Rs 19,200 crore in the last financial year.

This has been revealed in the detailed key financial indicators for 2019-20, which have been approved by the state government. The statement shows that against Rs 78,509.70 crore, the state had estimated as its total revenue receipts for 2019-20, the total receipts were just Rs 59,261.75 crore. 

At the time of presenting the 2020-21 Budget in February this year, Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal had said that the revenue receipts for 2019-20 would be Rs 73,975.08 crore. He had projected a shortfall of Rs 4,534 crore, but the revenue is actually down by Rs 19,247 crore. The state’s tax revenue fell by Rs 10,979.20 crore, while the non-tax revenue fell by more than 50 percent of the Budget estimates. It witnessed a reduction of Rs 4,936.25 crore.

It may be mentioned that the fall in revenue is not just in comparison to the Budget estimates, but also in comparison to the revenue collections of 2018-19. The tax revenue in 2018-19 was Rs 3,571 crore higher as compared to 2019-20, and non-tax revenue was higher by Rs 1,579 crore.

A closer look at these key financial indicators reveals that excise collections last year were just Rs 4,865 crore, as against the target of Rs 6,201 crore, seeing a fall of Rs 1,336 crore. This fall had been in the eye of the political storm, with the ruling Congress MLAs and some MPs demanding action against the then Chief Secretary, who also headed the Excise and Taxation Department, for the fall in the collections. At the height of this controversy last month, the Excise Department had claimed that no losses were incurred by the department in 2019-20, except the losses because of the lockdown.

Land revenue collections in 2019-20 were down by 40 percent, the share of union taxes has dropped by 22 percent, sales tax collections by over 17 percent and stamps, and registration by 15 percent. The grants-in-aid from the Centre, too, have shown a decline of 18 percent, in comparison with the Budget estimates for 2019-20.

As the state’s income took a beating, the total expenditure too came down by almost 26 percent against Rs 1,13,039.02 crore of the targeted revenue expenditure, the actual expenditure in 2019-20 was 71,958.37 crore. As a result, the revenue deficit was Rs 10,239.33 crore, as against Rs 11,687.26 crore, as projected earlier.

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