Centre kicks off GST compensation release under special borrowing scheme2 min read . Updated: 23 Oct 2020, 09:09 PM IST
- The Centre borrowed and transferred ₹6,000 crore to 16 states and two union territories on Friday under the scheme
- Out of the 21 states that opted for the borrowing scheme, five did not have any revenue shortfall to be compensated
The Centre borrowed and transferred ₹6,000 crore to 16 states and two union territories on Friday under the scheme, said an official statement. The fund release is part of a ‘back-to-back loan facility’ to states in lieu of GST Compensation. Kicking off the fund release to the states that have opted for the scheme puts pressure on dissenting states like Kerala, West Bengal and Punjab that are still weighing their options, to accept the scheme.
If all states agree, Centre will borrow ₹1.1 trillion, the estimated revenue shortfall of states this year due to GST implementation, and release to states. The finance ministry had last week revised its borrowing calendar for the second half to accommodate the special borrowing scheme, departing from its previous position that states ought to borrow. These borrowings will be shown as debt in the books of states and the Centre’s fiscal deficit will be unaffected.
“It is intended to make weekly releases of Rs.6,000 crore to the states. Tenor of borrowing is expected to be broadly in the range of 3-5 years," said the finance ministry statement. The borrowing is at an interest rate of 5.19%.
Out of the 21 states that opted for the borrowing scheme, five did not have any revenue shortfall to be compensated.
The states that received funds are Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Union territories Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir too received funds, the statement said. This is the first time funds are being released as GST compensation for the current fiscal.
The Centre agreeing to borrow under the special RBI window had helped to diffuse some tension between New Delhi and the dissenting states. Kerala Finance minister Thomas Isaac had said in a tweet on Thursday that having reached a consensus on who should borrow, the centre and states can reach a consensus on how much to borrow. Isaac suggested that an incentive given to all the states joining the borrowing scheme—waiver of a reform condition proposed while raising states’ borrowing limit from 3% to 5% of gross state domestic product earlier this year—should be extended to all states. “Let GST Council meet and continue the dialogue," he said in his tweet, indicating willingness to resolve the differences with the Centre.
Some of the dissenting states had earlier threatened to move court to resolve their differences with the Centre, saying their fund shortfall cannot be classified as GST implementation-related and pandemic-related.