The finance ministry is set to release ₹20,000 crore pending goods and service tax (GST) compensation to states soon. This release will from the Consolidated Fund of India. Along with this , finance ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office are also working on another stimulus package, which is expected to be announced soon. There is no definitive number on the quantum of the package yet but it will be aimed at the urban and rural poor, micro, small and medium enterprises and the sectors most affected by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic and the subsequent 21-day nationwide lockdown.
In a large country like India, an effective fight against a pandemic such as COVID-19 requires financial strengthening of its states, without which it would be impossible to reach the last mile of affordable healthcare facilities for the poor and needy. Even with the ₹20,000 crores distributed among states, it will still be a fraction of what they have been demanding in financial support and clearance of pending dues. Still, centre is trying every bit to help out States. Thus, states have been also allowed to borrow 50% of their total 2020-21 limit in April itself.
Maharashtra had sought a special package worth ₹25,000 crores from the central government and asked it to release pending dues worth ₹16,654 crore under various heads by 31st March 2020, to fight the economic crisis. Tamil Nadu has sought a special assistance of ₹4,000 crore. West Bengal has sought a package of Rs 25,000 crore and clearance of dues worth Rs 36,000 crore. Additionally, all states have sought relaxation of their borrowing limits.
In addition to this , the Ministry of Finance said that, IT Department to release all pending income tax refunds up to ₹5 lakhs immediately. Around 14 lakh taxpayers to be benefitted from this . All GST & CUSTOM refunds also to be released to provide benefit to around 1 lakh business entities including MSMEs. The total refund is approximately ₹18,000 crore of total refund granted immediately.