GST collection hit by fall in imports & slowdown in some sectors The slowdown in three sectors — automobiles, cement and iron & steel — along with falling imports have taken a toll on GST collections, even as the services sector has managed to hold firm. Collections in September fell 2.7% to a little under Rs 92,000 crore, the lowest since march 2018, and was way below the psychological comfort level of Rs 1 lakh crore. The three key sectors saw lower collections of Rs 6,200 crore, while several sectors such as electronics, consumer goods and tobacco have seen a healthy rise in GST payouts. While goods contribute around 70% of the GST revenue, services account for the rest. Auto sector, which has seen sales decline for 11 straight months, led the decline with Rs 3,500 crore, followed by cement (around Rs 1,500 crore) and steel (around (Rs 1,200 crore). Besides, collections from imports were down nearly 13%, impacting overall collections. Both imports and exports have remained weak in recent months as domestic economic activity stays muted. The government has dismissed suggestions that there are flaws with the GST architecture, which was resulting in low collections. Had there been a problem with the design, then how the raise in initial two years was possible. The revenue department has formed a committee to identify reasons for collection being lower than expectations. The move of return filling and its compliance comes at a time when several entities are slow in filing two GST returns — GSTR 1 and GSTR 3B — resulting in tax evasion. States were told that an Aadhaar-linked registration mechanism was being put in place to ensure that fly-by night operators did not become part of the net, only to vanish after a few months after seeking refunds and tax credits, which had emerged as a major challenge for tax authorities. The clear messages of Centre to States are as follows :- • Ensure better compliance . • Keep tabs on fake registrations, Aadhaar-linking in pipeline. • Extra caution on refunds suggested to stop bogus claims. • More restriction likely on those not filling returns , sharing invoices.