The June goods and services tax (GST) collections missed the Rs 1 lakh crore mark for the first time since February. The collection stood at Rs 99,939 crore. CNBC-TV18 spoke with Anubhuti Sahay, head, South Asia Economic Research (India), Standard Chartered Bank to discuss the revenue numbers.
The June GST collection was disappointing because the target is Rs 1.1 lakh crore per month, Sahay said. Sahay added that she would take the number with bit of caution and would not say that this will be the trend for the rest of the year because there are some points to keep in mind, including the fact June immediately followed the Lok Sabha elections, so it is probable that economic activity was not at its peak.
She added that the numbers for the corresponding month last year was also not good, indicating the possibility of some sort of seasonality which got magnified because of the elections.
When asked if the government is likely to scale down the Budget estimates, she said the FY19 data shows that both revenue as well expenditure or estimates that were presented in FY19 Budget in February were overestimated by 1 percent. "So there has to be downward revision across all items,” she said, adding that the bank also expects a downward revision in GST. Even if one were to take the most conservative estimate, it is overestimated by 0.5 percent of the GDP, she said.
"So there has to be downward revision in direct taxes, especially income taxes. We cannot expect double digit growth in income tax year after year when the economy is not doing well," Sahay said, "Accordingly, there would be some adjustment required on the revenue expenditure side rather than the capex (capital expenditure) side."
When asked if the market could stomach a higher borrowing programme to the tune of Rs 7.2-7.3 lakh crore and would that push up yields, she said one must expect some kind of negative reaction from the markets if borrowings are revised up. “Any upward revision in fiscal deficit and market borrowing will have a negative impact on rates market,” said Sahay.