GST collection, devolution a success story in NE: Sitharaman

Guwahati: The North Eastern states have scripted a success story in the collection and devolution of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman said here on Friday.

According to the 2023 RBI report on state finances, the eight NE states have registered a compounded annual GST hike of 27.5 per cent, she said.

Sitharaman was speaking at the Investiture Ceremony for conferring the Presidential Award for ‘Specially Distinguished Record of Service’ to officers and staff of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC).

The finance minister said, “The GST’s principal largely is on the basis of tax & consumption not just tax on the basis of where it is produced. As a result, unlike the central sales tax, which is the origin base tax, GST is a destination-based tax…the northeastern states have benefited from the GST. As a result, the northeast consuming states have shown remarkable improvement in the GST collection & also the quantum that goes back to the states in the name of distribution that happens. ”

Assam was the first state to ratify the GST Act, four days after it was passed and since then there has been a 12 times increase in the collection of taxes, the minister said.

Assam’s sales tax collection prior to the implementation of the GST was Rs 558.26 crore but this has increased manifold to Rs 7,097 crore.

Sikkim and Meghalaya too have registered a significant achievement with the former’s collection increasing from Rs 263.5 crore to Rs 3,036 crore and the latter’s from Rs 587.21 crore to Rs 2,078 crore, she said.

”GST has brought about a significant improvement in the system which has not only benefited the states but ultimately the people as well”, Sitharaman said.

The North East has borders with four countries and there are 25 functional Land Customs Stations (LCS), out of which only 15 have electronic facilities.

She urged the officials to ensure that by December, the remaining LCSs also have electronic facilities which will help detect and stop smuggling.

The Union minister is on a two-day visit to Assam and Tripura.