The taxman’s aggressive approach in 2012-13 to shore up revenues seems to have paid rich dividends for the Centre.
In a difficult year on the economic front, the Government has recorded a revenue growth of 16.7 per cent, thereby achieving the revenue targets for last fiscal.
The Centre exceeded the target on the indirect taxes side, while there was a small shortfall in direct taxes.
“On an overall basis, we have achieved the target. We will know the exact numbers as actuals come in,” P Chidambaram, Finance Minister, told a press conference here.
This revenue mop-up comes in the backdrop of the country likely to post a decadal-low growth of about 5 per cent in 2012-13.
Faced with economic slowdown, Chidambaram had in February-end (Budget 2013-14) scaled down the overall revenue targets for 2012-13 by about Rs 40,000 crore (revised estimates lower than Budget estimates). Encouraged by the revenue department’s performance for 2012-13, Chidambaram today maintained that the targets for 2013-14 – which many criticised as too stiff – was achievable.
“We expect the GDP for 2013-14 to grow by 6 per cent. Although it is only the sixth day in the current fiscal, I am confident that we will achieve the target for 2013-14 also.”
The Centre achieving the overall tax target for 2012-13 is likely to have some positive impact on the fiscal deficit.
Chidambaram said that fiscal deficit for 2012-13 is likely to be better than the 5.2 per cent projected in end February.
Chidambaram said that he does not expect to bring any amendment to income tax law in the second leg of the Budget session starting on April 23.
“Once we find a resolution to the dispute, naturally it has to be followed up by an amendment to income tax law. Once we know what kind of solution emerges to the Vodafone dispute, we will bring amendment to the Act.”
There are indications that Government may agree for conciliation to resolve the dispute.
DIRECT BENEFIT TRANSFER
Chidambaram said he would soon discuss with Oil Minister Veerappa Moily a timeline for moving LPG subsidy into the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) system.
“We want to quickly move LPG subsidy on DBT,” he said, adding that the DBT rollout all over the country is likely to be completed by end of 2013-14.
The thinking is that money will be directly transferred to consumers once the Government has a record that he/she has taken the cylinder. The details will be worked out, Chidambaram said.
Chidambaram said that sugar decontrol, announced a few days ago, is a major step that will benefit farmers and industry.
He, however, refrained from commenting on the impact on consumers. The annual subsidy bill is expected to go up by Rs 2,500-2,600 crore as a result of sugar decontrol, he said.