Blaming GST ‘failure’, Punjab CM hints at hiking levy on liquor
Amarinder Singh said that the improper implementation of GST has left no other option but to enhance tax, including excise (duty), to garner funds for the state treasury to meet day-to-day expenses.punjab Updated: Dec 02, 2017 09:29 IST
Saying that the goods and services tax (GST) was “a good thing” but the BJP-led Union government “failed in its implementation”, Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh said on Friday that the state has “no other option” but to increase taxes, including excise duty. This means liquor in particular may be dearer in the state.
He said states are fund-starved as the Centre is not releasing their GST share. “Improper implementation of GST has left no other option but to enhance tax, including excise (duty), to garner funds for the state treasury to meet day-to-day expenses. And this is against the spirit of GST,” explained the CM, speaking on the sidelines of a national livestock championship and expo at Jahlan village in the district.
Once a votary of GST, Amarinder, who is set to visit Gujarat for election campaign, said, “Punjab has got only Rs 400 crore ever since GST was implemented. How can a state be run with this meagre amount? There’s more than Rs 2,000 crore outstanding, and there is no idea when they (Centre) will release it.”
Asked about measures to tackle the cash crunch, he said, “Initially we are trying to increase excise collection, and a cabinet committee is looking at various options.” Punjab collects revenue of Rs 5,000 crore a year from excise duty on liquor.
He also spoke against restrictions on livestock trade as “Punjab is suffering a loss because of it”.
Addressing the gathering, he urged farmers to shift to agri-allied sectors, such as livestock rearing, to boost income and get out of the wheat-paddy cycle.