Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday said that the economy would expand by at least 8.75% and may touch 9% in 2011-12 as estimated in the Budget. However, the revenue department has doubts over bettering last year's fiscal deficit figure considering contraction in demand.
Speaking at the annual conference of chief commissioners and directors general of customs and excise here, Mukherjee said the GDP growth of "8.75% with variation of 0.25% either side is surely achievable" . However, he urged senior officials to make sustained efforts for realizing revenue target.
The FM said the department must strategise its revenue realization efforts throughout the year as meeting the indirect tax target of Rs 3.93 lakh crore in the current year needed a 15% growth in collection. The FM's optimism is contrary to the projection made by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its annual credit policy review last month. The central bank had said sovereign debt crisis in the eurozone and rising prices of international crude would have a downside risk on the economy, which may not expand more than 8% in 2011-12 . The finance ministry's own assessment was on similar lines after the RBI policy review.
Speaking on the occasion, Central Board of Excise and Customs chairman Sumit Dutt Majumder said the Budget estimate for indirect tax was a difficult task in the current global and domestic circumstances but the department would still achieve it. Last year, indirect tax had grown by 40% and had exceeded the revised budget estimate of Rs 3.42 lakh crore.
Expressing concern, revenue secretary Sunil Mitra who said the high base effect of last year would make it difficult for CBEC to achieve the Budget estimate target, considering the economy was poised to grow by 8.5%.