Odisha’s revenue collection down 23% in first quarter as Covid cases surge
State finance secretary Ashok Meena said the total revenue collection up to June was Rs 8,204 crore, as compared to the last year’s collection of Rs 10,645 crore.Updated: Jul 10, 2020 12:31 IST
Odisha’s revenue collections have whittled down by 23% in the first quarter (April-June) of the current financial year 2020-21 in comparison to the corresponding period last year because of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, officials said.
State finance secretary Ashok Meena said the total revenue collection up to June was Rs 8,204 crore, as compared to the last year’s collection of Rs 10,645 crore.
The dip is owing to an over 35% drop in the collection of state’s own taxes and revenues such as excise, Value Added Tax (VAT), Goods and Services Tax (GST), stamp duties and registration on the back of an unprecedented economic slump due to the lockdown restrictions, which were imposed since end-March to contain the viral outbreak.
However, non-tax revenue collections due to mining royalty went up by around 3% between April and June.
The total non-tax revenue between April and June, 2019 was Rs 3,506 crore, which increased to Rs 3,609 crore during the same period this year.
Officials said Odisha’s GST collection in the first quarter of 2020-21 fell by 35.25%, as compared to the corresponding period in 2019-20 fiscal. The gross GST collection in the April-June period of 2020-21 fiscal was Rs 5,192.30 crore, while it was Rs 8,019.44 crore in the corresponding quarter of 2019-20.
Finance department officials said even programme expenditures of all departments have gone down.
The expenditure reduced by around 5.06% in April to June quarter, in comparison to the last fiscal. The total programme expenditure up to June in the current fiscal was around Rs 8,923 crore against around Rs 9,399 crore during the same period in the last fiscal.
The dip in revenue collection has come at a time when the daily Covid-19 positive growth rate in Odisha has outpaced the national average.
Odisha’s daily Covid-19 positive growth rate has risen from 5.4% to 6.74 % against the national average of 3.4% since last week.
While the state’s sample positivity rate at 11.69% has also overtaken the national average of 9.2% until Friday.
Sample positivity is total Covid-19 positive cases divided by the total number of tests multiplied by 100.
The Naveen Patnaik-led government has recently capped expenditure on state schemes, except those related to agriculture and its allied sector and for combating Covid-19.
The finance department in a press statement has announced a blanket ban on the creation of new posts except for the state health and family welfare department. Exceptions to the creation of new posts can only be made subject to approval by the finance department.
Only expenditures, relating to Covid-19 management, and under other essential heads would be allowed, it added.
A ban has been enforced on the purchase of new equipment, except those related to healthcare and internal security.
The state government has banned the purchase of any new vehicle for the next two years and officials have been directed to avoid foreign tours.
Air travel is not encouraged, while an emphasis is being laid on holding meetings via video-conference.
Last week, the state government appointed a nodal officer for implementation of specific state reforms for availing of additional borrowing of 2% of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) during 2020-21 to increase its resource base.
Earlier, the Centre had allowed all states to borrow 2% of GSDP over and above the regular limit of 3% because of the pandemic.
The opposition -- the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress -- has slammed the government for the hiring freeze for the next two years.
Pradipta Naik, the leader of the opposition and a BJP member of the Odisha legislative assembly (MLA), said the recruitment freeze in state government jobs for the next two years is unfortunate, as many posts are lying vacant in several departments.
“This is a conspiracy hatched by the state government to shirk its responsibility in the name of Covid-19 management amid an annual spike in the unemployment rate in Odisha,” Naik alleged.
Niranjan Patnaik, president, Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC), said during this pandemic the state government was supposed to create more jobs, as many were rendered jobless.
“Many good students are staring at an uncertain future because of the state government’s move,” he said.