Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Centre to ‘strictly’ maintain fiscal deficit at 3.3%: Arun Jaitley

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Priscilla Morrison | 16 September, 2018, 14:17

The economy grew 8.2% in the June quarter, its fastest pace in over two years, triggering of hopes of faster growth for the full year.

The Finance Minister further said that the government would restrict import of non-essential items and encourage exports.

"We are optimistic about our growth rate and tax collection".

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Saturday that the government is confident of meeting its fiscal deficit target of 3.3 percent of gross domestic product in the current fiscal year, a day after outlining a number of measures to bolster the falling rupee.

"The government is confident and will strictly maintain the 3.3% fiscal deficit target", Jaitley said.

More news: Tropical storm Florence dumps metres of rain on Carolinas

"As far as capital expenditure is concerned, already we have spent about 44% of the budgeted expenditure till 31 August and we'll end the year without any cuts and will maintain the 100% capital expenditure", Jaitley stated. The fiscal deficit is the gap between revenues and spending and is a key measure of the state of public finances. However, the position was a bit better than previous year, when 92.4 per cent of the target was hit this time around.

Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) gave a detailed presentation today, the Finance Minister said. "We are now seeing the impact of demonetisation on direct taxes", said M.S. Mani, partner, Deloitte India. "I am reasonably confident of the government meeting the total tax receipts target, combining direct and indirect taxes, as any slippage on indirect tax collection may be compensated by growth in direct taxes". There is a phenomenal increase in assesses base.

"The CBDT is very clear that this year they will be able to collect in excess of budgeted target", he said. Though it is less than 92.4 per cent of the last fiscal, but problem is that revenue from Goods and Services Tax (GST) is below expectations and being the election year, expectation that there will be more expenditure.

However, the Centre and state governments could not achieve the target of collecting Rs 1 trillion a month in FY19, except in the month of April, which was due to arrears paid.

"With regard to GST and other indirect taxes, GST is settling down and with the kind of pickup in consumption which has taken place, it will have an impact on GST collection in future months and we're confident that between direct and indirect tax collections, govt would comfortably meet target", Jaitley told reporters. The government had in the budget projected direct tax collection of Rs 11.5 lakh crore for 2018-19 fiscal. The government, in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also made a decision to remove restrictions on external commercial borrowings, masala bonds to control the current account deficit, which slipped for the first time in six quarters in April-June.

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