Chandigarh, November 28
Punjab Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema on Tuesday informed the House that the state government has received Rs 3,670 crore of Goods and Services Tax (GST) compensation from the Centre after it lodged a new claim of Rs 5,005 crore with it.
After tabling the Punjab Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (Amendment) Bill, 2023 in the House on the first day of the two-day winter session of the assembly, Cheema said the state government lodged the new claim of GST compensation worth Rs 5,005 crore with the Centre.
“Out of which Rs 3,670 crore has come to the state exchequer,” Cheema informed the House.
The FM also said the previous Congress government did not present the proper record before the Centre, after which the Government of India told the state government that an excess amount of Rs 3,900 crore of the GST compensation had been disbursed to Punjab.
“I am sharing for the first time that they (the Centre) sought return of excess disbursement. Then we checked our records. We not only got the Centre’s claim of Rs 3,900 crore rejected but also lodged the fresh claim of Rs 5,005 crore,” said Cheema.
The FM said his department found 800 people indulging in issuing fake bills and said action will be taken against them.
The department managed to discover issuing of fake bills through the scheme ‘Bill Leyao, Inaam Pao’ (Bring a bill, Get reward), which is aimed to check theft of tax revenue by unscrupulous traders and shopkeepers.
Meanwhile, the Punjab Assembly passed two Bills—the Punjab Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2023 and the Punjab Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (Amendment) Bill.
While the first Bill will pave way for setting up a GST Appellate Tribunal and imposition of GST on online gaming, the second Bill is related to aligning fiscal deficit, revenue deficit and outstanding debt as percentage of the GSDP in that particular year, as recommended by the Central Finance Commission and approved by the Centre.
While presenting the Punjab GST (Amendment) Bill, 2023, Cheema said he accepted the suggestion of AAP MLA Budh Ram who said the share of GST collection should come to Punjab if a person hailing from the state buys anything in another state.
Earlier, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann said the GST Bill presented in the House will go a long way in ensuring that the benefits of the tax are given to the manufacturing state, which has used its resources to produce goods.
He also said the state government has already launched a one-time settlement scheme for value added tax to benefit more than 65,000 traders across the state.
Mann said the state government has got 1,800 applications so far under the scheme, which is receiving maximum response from the general public.
He said the state is introducing the Artificial Intelligence (AI) in GST collection to check bogus billing.
He said similarly the AI is also being introduced in departments like revenue, health, agriculture, and others.
Citing benefits of the technique, Mann said due to its usage the state government saved Rs 163.26 crore merely in estimates of road, adding that 540 km of roads that do not exist have also been detected.
He said the state government is spending the money collected from people for their benefit only.
He said people’s money is being spent on giving them free power, free medicines in Aam Aadmi Clinics, free education and others.
There is no dearth of funds with the state government and every penny will be spent for the welfare of the general public, he said.
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