India’s goods and service tax revenue touched a record in March, with the government collecting almost ₹1.24 lakh crore on a sustained economic recovery and improved compliance with anti-evasion measures. Issuance of e-way bills also touched 71.2 million in March, the highest in three years.
GST revenue crossed the ₹1 lakh crore mark for the sixth straight month and with a steep increasing trend over this period indicate rapid economic recovery post-pandemic, the finance ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
Collections in March were 27% higher than a year earlier, while they increased 14% in the January-March quarter.
Revenue from GST had declined 41% and 8% on-year in the first and second quarters of FY21, respectively, after the Covid-19-induced slowdown. Collections grew 8% and 14% in the following two quarters, indicating a recovery in both GST collections and the economy.
“FY21 is clearly a story of two halves, with 2HFY21 average monthly collections being 50.1% higher than 1HFY21,” said DK Pant, chief economist at IndiaRatings.
Revenue from imports was 70% higher in March and from domestic transactions was 17% higher.
“Increase in collections on imports, accompanied by the increase in domestic transactions, would indicate that the overall production/ consumption cycle is back to normal,” said MS Mani, a senior director at Deloitte India. E-way bills and electronic invoices also show clear signs of economic recovery.
Over 71.2 million e-way bills – needed for the movement of goods of over ₹50,000 in value – were generated in March. On March 24, almost 2.8 million e-way bills were generated, the highest in a day. So far, over 1.8 billion e-way bills have been generated in three years.
March also recorded 83.1 million electronic invoices, the highest number issued in a month since October 2020, when the system was introduced. On the last day of March, 3.74 million e-invoices were generated, the highest in a day in the past six months, when more than 398.1 million e-invoices were generated.
The upward trend in GST over the past few months emerged due to closer monitoring of fake billing, deepdata analytics from multiple sources including GST, income-tax and customs IT systems and effective tax administration.
In addition to improved GST collections over the past six months, the major states reported a significant increase in March from the previous year. Haryana, Delhi, UP, Gujarat, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Telangana have shown up to 25% growth in revenue.
Gross GST revenue collected in March was ₹1,23,902 crore, of which central GST was ₹22,973 crore, state GST was ₹29,329 crore and integrated GST was ₹62,842 crore, including ₹31,097 crore collected on imports. Cesswas ₹8,757 crore, including ₹935 crore collected on imports.