FM Jaitley for tax reforms and quick decisions to ensure stability
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FM Jaitley for tax reforms and quick decisions to ensure stability

Last Updated: Wednesday, January 28, 2015, 08:12

FM Jaitley for tax reforms and quick decisions to ensure stability

New Delhi: Ahead of the Budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday underlined the need for tax reforms and quick decision making to ensure stability in policy regime.

The Minister also asked the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) officials to maintain certain level of civility with assessees but to take to task the evaders and avoiders.

"Those who are liable to pay must pay...No evader or avoider must be allowed to go scot-free. At the same time, the levels of civility that we require in dealing with assessees will have to be very logical, very cogent," he said at an Investiture Ceremony to honour customs officials.

"In order to make best use of this opportunity, we have to address two major concerns that is quick decision making and stability in policy matters, and reforms in tax structure and administration," he said.

"There is need for change both in attitude and mindset towards investors' and assesses. We need to have a non-adversarial tax administration which is both investors' and assesses' friendly," he said.

Jaitley, who is scheduled to present the Budget in Lok Sabha on February 28, expressed confidence that the fiscal deficit target of 4.1 percent of the GDP for the current fiscal would be met.

"Even though the revenues have been challenging due to slow manufacturing industry, now, it is turning around and it looks like we will be able to meet our fiscal targets," he said.

Revenue collections which was affected due to low manufacturing in the last 2-3 years are also turning around. Forex reserves are good and Current Account Deficit (CAD) position is much better, he added.

Current account deficit stood at USD 10.1 billion or 2.1 percent of GDP in July-September quarter of this fiscal, up from 1.2 percent during the year ago period due to rising gold imports.

The current account deficit (CAD) is the net difference between inflows and outflows of foreign currencies.

Stating that the last one week had been a great learning for him, Jaitley said, "The sense I got in last few days is that ordinarily everything is going well with India.

"From depressing slowdown in last last two three years, suddenly our growth rates are likely to look up."

On the other hand, competing economies globally have not been so good.

"Brazil faces a challenge, South Africa faces challenge. Europe is still struggling to come out of slowdown. China which has maintained a growth rate of over 9 per cent for over 3 decades is looking at new normal," he said.

The Finance Minister said that Indian currency was among the two global currencies which withstood the might of dollar in recent times.

Jaitley further said that the government is working towards an investor friendly tax administration.

"There is a huge amount of interest and curiosity. Along with this huge amount of interest and curiosity, there were two concerns... Our decision making being slow, our lack of policy stablity...," he said.

"The second major concern has been globally expressed at all forums... Principal concern that (was) repeatedly expressed is strapped structure of India and its administration (perceived being) highly adversarial.

"Both the Prime Minister and I were at pains to explain that we want an investor friendly tax administration and we are all working on this," he said.

He pointed out that this concern was also raised at the meeting of CEOs with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama yesterday.

He asked the custom officers to safeguard borders by curbing unlawful economic activities.
Speaking on the occasion, Jayant Sinha, Minister of State of Finance, said that there is need for more transparency in tax administration and need to build data base for authentic and valid information.

There is need for coordination among different agencies to avoid delay, he said, adding this could be by having less paper work and documents to be filed, among others, for efficient delivery of services.

Revenue Secretary Shaktikanta Das asked the CBEC officers to rededicate themselves to their sovereign responsibility of administering indirect tax administration and maximise the revenue collections.

Das urged the officers to dedicate themselves to the cause of improving the ease of doing business in the country in line with the Prime Minister's 'Make in India' programme.

Officers need to give personal touch for efficient and effective discharge of their day to day duties, he added.


First Published: Tuesday, January 27, 2015, 20:48

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