CHANDIGARH: The cash strapped Punjab Government is facing a financial crisis with bills worth more than Rs 4,000 crores still pending in the various state treasures which include medical reimbursements of employees and pensionary benefits of employees who have retired.
As per sources, the state finance department is trying to get the Rs 4,100 crore pending amount of Goods and Service Tax (GST) from the union government so that the salary due on December 1 and other payments could be made.
Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal had recently taken up the issue of non-payment of GST dues with Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during a meeting of the empowered committee of state finance ministers.
The state government has been able to collect only Rs 1,325 crore in non-tax revenue of the total estimated collection of Rs 9,477 crore till September this year which stands at just 13 per cent. It has managed to collect Rs 18,276 crore as tax revenue in the first six months from April to September this fiscal year out of the estimated Rs 50,993 crore.
As per the budget estimates for the financial year 2019-20, around Rs, 17,109 crore is expected to be collected from GST.
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh tweeted, "Shocking that the Centre is delaying the GST compensation amounting to ₹4100 crore as compensation & arrears to Punjab. Urge PM Nnarendramodi & FM @nsitharaman to intervene & solve the problem which has the potential to bring governance of the state to a grinding halt.’’
Shocking that the Centre is delaying the GST compensation amounting to ₹4100 crore as compensation & arrears to Punjab. Urge PM @narendramodi ji & FM @nsitharaman ji to intervene & solve the problem which has the potential to bring governance of the state to a grinding halt.— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) November 24, 2019
It is learnt that the finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal has informed the Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, who is on a fourteen-day tour abroad to Europe and United Kingdom and is scheduled to return on November 28, about the current financial situation in the state and had asked him to ask the Centre to release the money pending.
Suresh Kumar, the Chief Principal Secretary to CM is in United Kingdom for the last few days which has brought the government work to a standstill.
An official on condition of anonymity said that the tax revenue of the state has fallen as due to political pressure from ministers and MLAs if the excise and taxation or any other department tries to recover the pending dues from a business house or other establishments they are forced not to collect the pending
"The Chief Minister should intervene and inform the elected representatives not to interfere in tax collection otherwise it will further go down," he added.
Sources said that the local bodies department has directed all the 28 improvement trusts in the state to sell off their assets that have been lying unattended for the past many years. It is estimated that the government will receive approximately Rs 408 crore as revenue from the sale of properties by the improvement trusts in the current calendar year.
The state government is also planning to lease out the ten guesthouses owned by it to private players on PPP mode. Meanwhile, Punjab Gau Sewa Commission Chairman instructed all the department to expedite the process of issuing of cow cess notification so that more funds are available for cow welfare activities.