CHANDIGARH: The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) claimed on Friday that the Congress-led Punjab government's performance regarding GST collection was the "worst" in the country and accused it of resorting to a "mischievous campaign to divert attention from its own failures".
The Punjab Congress has accused the Narendra Modi government of meting out "stepmotherly" treatment to the state and "deliberately delaying" the release of Rs 4,100 crore in GST compensation to it.
In a statement, former state finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa said it was a matter of record that Punjab had the maximum shortfall of 44 per cent in revenue collection through GST in the first five months of 2019-20 fiscal as against the average country-wide shortfall of only 21 per cent.
Pinning the blame for shortfall in GST revenue on the state government's "inefficiency and is management due to which it has already touched Rs 12,000 crore", he said, "This is likely to increase to Rs 20,000 crore in the next two years. A financial emergency is truly in the offing in Punjab." Dhindsa said 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 per cent of the tax targets in the first six months of this fiscal and recorded a 14 per cent shortfall. The situation is worse in the non-planned sector comprising CLU and mining besides others with only 14 per cent of the targeted revenue being collected till now."
The Akali leader also alleged that the Congress government was misleading Punjabis by stating that Rs 4,100 crore was due from the Centre on account of GST compensation. He said the actual figure for two months was only Rs 2,100 crore.
"The 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 said and said that the Rs 2,100 crore due was part of the 14 per cent year-on-year compensation promised by the Centre while doing away with VAT whose annual average increase was 13 per cent.
Alleging that Punjab witnessed zero growth during Congress rule, Dhindsa posed, "What will happen when the Centre does away with GST compensation after another two years?"