Centre owes Rs 3 trillion to states and industry amid Covid-19 outbreak

Hiranandani said the chamber had asked for a stimulus package of Rs 13 trillion, including dues.
At a time when industry urgently needs a stimulus, the Union government and its agencies owe companies and state governments approximately Rs 3 trillion.

Assocham President Niranjan Hiranandani said his talks with government officials showed dues to industry and states were pending in the form of refunds of income tax, value-added tax, and goods and services tax (GST), and compensation, payments to distribution companies (discoms) in the power sector, fertiliser subsidies, etc.

He estimated the figure at Rs 3 trillion.

Hiranandani said the chamber had asked for a stimulus package of Rs 13 trillion, including dues. The other parts of the stimulus should be credit guarantee funds for banks and cuts in goods and services tax (GST) rates by 50 per cent for six months, he said.

Industry experts say the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is yet to pay Rs 18,000-20,000 crore to various agencies, including contractors who have executed their projects.

However, an expert in the field said dues could not be taken as stimulus. “It is only when the government gives something additional can it be called a stimulus,” he said.

The telecom industry, on the other hand, pegged their dues, including GST refunds, at Rs 35,000 crore.

Then, there are dues of the state governments. The Centre has paid compensation dues till November of 2019-20. It has paid Rs 1.2 trillion to the state governments against a full year collection of just Rs 95,000 crore through the compensation cess. The cess collection fell short of over Rs 3,000 crore against the revised estimates of Rs 98,327 crore.

There are other pending dues of the states which are yet to be given by the Centre. For instance, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee last month had asked prime minister Narendra Modi to get cleared the pending dues of Rs 36,000 crore and devolution of funds to the tune of Rs 11,219 crore for the state.

Industries are also facing hardships since cash-strapped states are not clearing their dues.

According to the PRAAPTI portal, states are yet to clear dues of Rs 92,891 crore to power generating companies, both of the Centre and privately owned.

The Indian Electrical & Electronics Manufacturers' Association (IEEMA) estimated the dues of state governments to electric equipment industry at Rs 7,500 crore, while a report by the standing committee on coal & steel says that the states owe Rs 22,770 crore to Coal India and its subsidiaries.

Also, renewable power projects are yet to get their Rs 9,000 crore from states, according to estimates by the Central Electricity Authority.


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