Monday, 24 September, 2018

Govt will meet all fiscal targets, Arun Jaitley says after review

Arun Jaitley,PM Modi economic review meeting,Finance minister Finance minister Arun Jaitley speaks to reporters in New Delhi
Jean Garcia | 16 September, 2018, 06:53

Talking to media personnel after the meeting, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that external factors like policies adopted by the United States, trade tensions and skyrocketing crude oil prices are impacting economies like India, despite "strong fundamentals".

Jaitley's commitment to maintaining the budget targets in a pre-election year also in a way rules out any cut in excise duty on petroleum products which have been rising keeping in pace with global crude oil prices.

"The government is confident that we will have a growth rate higher than what we had projected this year in the Budget", Mr. Jaitley added after a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi where he reviewed the country's economic situation. "Government is confident of meeting the 3.3% fiscal deficit target".

He also said that GST was settling down, and the pick-up in consumption was bound to have an impact on the collections."We are quite confident that in between direct and the indirect tax collections, the government will comfortably meet the target, if not surpass it".

"The worsening of the CAD has been evident for several months; yet the government did nothing".

Jaitley expressed confidence of meeting both direct tax, indirect tax and non-tax revenue targets for 2018-19. "There is phenomenal increase in the assessee base.in the quantum of advance tax which has been paid", he said.

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On revenue collections, he said the impact of anti-black money measures, demonetisation and GST are now visible with "phenomenal" increase in tax base. He said that the government will achieve higher growth rate more than what was projected in the previous budget meeting.

A 71% increase in income tax return filers before the 31 August deadline this year of 5.42 crore compared to the number of filers in the same time a year ago hints at improved direct tax compliance.

The government has collected Rs 92.19 billion from disinvestment receipt against the target of Rs 800 billion for FY19. However, till now finance ministry has resisted pressure to cut taxes on fuel. "The CBDT is very clear that this year they will be able to collect in excess of budgeted target", he said.

He also said that the government was confident of not only maintaining the disinvestment target this year but also probably surpassing it, as was done last year.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Urjit Patel had made a presentation to the PM on Friday about the state of the economy after which the government unveiled a five-point plan to shore up the rupee and trim the current account deficit. Mandatory hedging conditions for infrastructure loans through the external commercial borrowing (ECB) route will be reviewed and a 20% exposure limit on investments by foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) in debt to a single corporate group will be removed. It was made a decision to permit manufacturing sector entities, avail external commercial borrowing upto $ 50 million with minimum maturity of one year, against the earlier norm of three years. "In relation to Masala bonds there will be exemption from withholding tax for issuance done in this year (March 31, 2019)", he said.

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