Reiterating Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann’s commitment of improving the fiscal health of the state while fulfilling all the guarantees, Punjab Finance, Planning, Excise and Taxation Minister Harpal Singh Cheema said that the state has registered growth rate of 24.15 per cent in the GST collection and 41.23 per cent in excise collection during the first four months of financial year 2022-23 as compared to financial year 2021-22.
Addressing a press conference at Punjab Bhawan on Monday, the finance minister said that the actual receipt growth has been very close to the budget estimated growth of 27 per cent in GST for financial year 2022-23. He said that the state witnessed a growth percentage of 3.46 per cent in April, 44.79 per cent in May, 51.49 per cent in June and 13.05 per cent in July this year as compared to the year 2021. He further added that the success of the new excise policy speaks for itself as the excise collection registered a growth of 41.23 per cent. The total excise collection stood at 2741.35 crore during the first four months of FY 2022-23 as compared to 1941.05 crore for the same period during last year.
Listing another major achievement of the state government, Cheema said that the loan amount taken over for CCL gap in 2017 by the then SAD-BJP government was Rs 30,584 crore and the monthly installment of this loan at 8.25 per cent rate of interest was Rs 270 crore.
“We negotiated with the bank consortium and the interest rate on this loan has been reset at 7.35 per cent (effective from April 1, 2022). Loan which was to be paid till September 2034 will now be disposed off in October 2033 at current pace”, said the Punjab finance minister, while adding that the total interest savings after renegotiation would be Rs 3,094 crore to the state exchequer.
Stating that state government has not only increased its revenue but also repaid its loans to put state in the higher trajectory of growth, Punjab Finance Minister said that the state has made an additional payment of Rs 2,266.94 crore while servicing debt worth Rs 10, 366.94 crore till July and availing loan of Rs 8,100 crore during the same period.
“This includes the payments paid to bailout institutions like Punjab State Agricultural Cooperative Bank (PSACB) and PUNSUP, besides making monthly payments for power subsidy as per schedule,” he added.
Replying to a query regarding GST compensation by the Centre, the minister said that Punjab and other states have requested the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman that the GST compensation may be extended for some more years as the fiscal health of some states is still not sound.
He further added that under the leadership of CM Mann, the state government has been putting in best efforts to increase the revenue whereas the previous Congress government failed to make such efforts and remained dependent only on the GST compensation provided by the Centre.
The Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema was accompanied by Ajoy Kumar Sinha, Principal Secretary, Finance and Mohammad Tayyab, Special Secretary, Expenditure.