Bengaluru– The sharp drop in revenue collection under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) system indicated attempts to evade or suppress taxes, said Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi on Wednesday.

“The revenue slump to Rs 80,806 crore in November from Rs 92,283 crore in July indicated attempts to evade or suppress taxes under the GST,” he told reporters here.

Modi, who is also the state Finance Minister and the Chairman of the Group of Ministers (GoM) set up to address IT-related issues in the GST Network (GSTN), said 7.5 lakh dealers across the country collectively paid just Rs 310 crore as indirect tax under the GST composition scheme so far.

Under the composition scheme, a trader or dealer whose turnover is up to Rs 1 crore can opt to pay 1 per cent as a composition tax and not avail input credit.

“The data from the GST system from across the country is being analysed. A meeting is being held in New Delhi on Thursday to discuss measures to check tax evasion and suppression,” said Modi after presiding over the sixth meeting of the GoM.

Hoping that revenue collection would increase once the inter-state e-way bill is introduced across the country from February 1, he said 14 states, including Karnataka were already using the electronic invoice to pay taxes on goods moved from one state to another in place of the current transit pass system.

The GST Act mandates traders or transporters to generate an e-way bill through the GSTN for tracking their goods valued above at Rs 50,000 and moved within or between the states. It will become mandatory from June 1.

The GSTN paid an advance of Rs 40 crore to the state-run National Informatics Centre (NIC) for developing the e-way system, including its hardware and software to roll it out across the country. NIC has launched a trial version of the e-way bill system on Monday for the roll out.

The GSTN has handled 5.25 crore returns, processed 154 crore invoices and documents of 1 crore migrated taxpayers.

“Average revenue shortfall of all states was 28.3 per cent in August, 17.5 per cent in October, 20.9 per cent in November and 20.7 per cent in December,” added Modi.

Admitting that tax revenue shortfall was a concern, Karnataka Agriculture Minister Krishna Byregowda, who is also a member of the panel, said though the states expected buoyancy in tax collection under the new regime (GST), evasion, leakage and suppression were responsible for it.

The GoM was set up in September to address the IT-related issues of the GSTN operated by software vendor Infosys since the new tax regime was introduced across the country on July 1 last year.

Other GoM members are Chattisgarh Minister for Commercial Taxes Amar Agarwal, Kerala Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Issac and Telangana Finance Minister Etela Rajendar.

GSTN Chairman Ajay Bhushan Pandey and CEO Prakash Kumar assist the GoM in addressing the glitches. (IANS)