Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Friday accused the Congress-led Punjab Government of resorting to mischievous campaign to divert attention from its failure to generate Goods and Services Tax (GST) revenue. SAD’s senior leader and former Finance Minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa said that the Congress Government’s performance vis-à-vis GST collection was the worst in the country. “It is resorting to a mischievous campaign to divert attention from its own failures by accusing the Centre of not releasing GST compensation of a mere two months,” he said.
Dhindsa said that it was a matter of record that Punjab had recorded the maximum shortfall of 44 percent in revenue collection through GST in the first five months of 2019-, against the average countrywide shortfall of 21 percent. “The GST revenue shortfall due to the government’s inefficiency and mismanagement has already touched Rs 12,000 crore which is likely to increase to Rs 20,000 crore in the next two years,” he said adding that a “financial emergency is truly in the offing in Punjab”.
Dhindsa asserted that the likely financial emergency was entirely due to the Congress Government’s failures on the tax collection front. “The government has achieved only 34 percent of the tax targets in the first six months of this year and recorded a 14 percent shortfall. The situation is worse in non-planned sector comprising CLU and mining besides others with only 14 percent of the targeted revenue being collected till now,” he added. He maintained that the Congress Government was “misleading” Punjabis by stating that Rs 4,100 crore was due from the Centre on account of GST compensation. “The actual figure for two months was only Rs 2,100 crore. Remaining Rs 2,000 crore is a claim which the Punjab Government is seeking under some other head and which has already been denied to it,” he added.
Dhindsa said that Rs 2,100 crore due was part of 14 percent year on year compensation promised by the Centre while doing away with VAT whose average increase was 13 percent annually. Stating that Punjab had witnessed zero growth during Congress rule, Dhindsa asked: “what will happen when the centre does away with GST compensation after another two years?” The former finance minister also asked Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar to first launch a sit-in protest against his own government besides asking Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh why his Government had failed so abysmally in collecting tax revenue.