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Finance minister reviews tax collections as targets set to be missed
April, 02nd 2019

Amid a shortfall in tax revenues, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley on Monday took stock of revenue collections for the financial year 2018-19 and its impact of the fiscal deficit target.

The meeting was attended by revenue secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey, expenditure secretary Girish Chandra Murmu, economic affairs secretary Subhash Chandra Garg among other secretaries of the finance ministry as well as Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) chairman Pramod Chandra Mody and Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) chairman P K Das.

The government is set to miss the targets for both direct and indirect taxes for 2018-19. The direct tax collection target for the year was pegged at Rs 12 lakh crore while the indirect tax target was fixed at Rs 10.45 lakh crore.

"The officials apprised the FM of both direct and indirect tax collections. The direct tax revenue, which includes personal income and corporation tax, will see a shortfall of Rs 40,000 crore. The revenue shortfall on account of indirect taxes will be around Rs 70,000-80,000 crore," said a source privy to the developments. Indirect tax revenues includes Goods and Services Tax (GST), Union excise duties and customs.

"The finance minister was hoping for Rs 10,000-20,000 crore more from direct taxes to be able to touch Rs 11.80 lakh crore, which would have been closer to the revised target (Rs 12 lakh crore). He was also disappointed with Union excise tax collections, which is around Rs 15,000 crore less than its target," a source said. The dip in the excise duty collections has been majorly due to the government reducing excise duty on petroleum products by Rs 1.50 per litre to provide relief to consumers.

As of now, the direct tax collections have touched around Rs 10.40 lakh crore. Another Rs 20,000 crore is expected to come over next five days. Similarly, the indirect tax collections may also see a bit of improvement over next few days, sources said.

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In the meeting, the impact of the revenue shortfall on the fiscal deficit target was also discussed.

"The government is likely to maintain the fiscal deficit target at 3.4% of the gross domestic product (GDP). The shortfall on the tax revenue side will be compensated by savings on expenditure side and some help from National Small Savings Fund (NSSF)," the official said.

The tax collections have picked up in the last quarter. Despite that, the GST collections, which includes Central GST and Integrated GST, will see a shortfall Rs 52,000 crore against the GST target of Rs 6.44 lakh crore in the interim Budget. Similarly, the shortfall on account of Union excise duties will be around Rs 15,000 crore. The government is, however, also likely to get some help in bridging the gap between the revenues and the expenditure from better non-tax revenues and disinvestment proceeds. The disinvestment mop-up has exceeded its target by Rs 5,000 crore at Rs 85,000 crore.

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