Indian two thousand rupee banknotes are arranged for a photograph. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Adhia Says Centre Confident of Meeting Fiscal Deficit Target Of 3.5% For FY18

The government today reiterated it is confident of meeting the fiscal deficit target for the financial year 2017-18 after achieving 99 percent of the revised direct tax collection target.

The government provisionally exceeded its budgeted direct tax collection of Rs 9.8 lakh crore, collecting Rs 9.95 lakh crore in the year ended March 31, Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia told reporters. “Both direct and indirect tax have broadly met our target, and we are very much on course to achieve our fiscal defict target,” he said. Direct tax collections will go up further due to delayed tax payments and adjustments, he said.

As a percentage of GDP, the government had pegged the fiscal deficit for 2017-18 at 3.5 percent compared with the earlier targeted 3.2 percent. For the first 11 months of the year, the deficit stood at 120 percent of the revised estimate presented by the Finance Ministry in February. Based on this data, the fiscal deficit is running at 4.2 percent of the gross domestic product.

6.8 Crore Income Tax Returns Filed In FY18

About 6.8 crore income tax returns were in 2017-18 compared with 5.43 crore in the previous year, Central Board of Direct Taxes Chairman Sushil Chandra, also present at the briefing, told reporters.

During the just-concluded financial year, the number of new return filers grew by 16.3 percent year-on-year to 99.49 lakh as on March 30, the apex direct tax body said in a statement. Higher total and new returns is a result of sustained efforts made by the Income Tax Department in following up with potential non-filers through email, messages, statutory notices and outreach programmes, structural changes in law and the government’s efforts to widen the tax net, it said.

‘GST Revenue To Improve To After E-Way Bill Rollout’

Revenues from the goods and services tax are expected to pick up with the rollout of the e-way bill mechanism from April 1, Adhia said.

In the first two days, about 2.59 lakh and 2.04 lakh e-way bills (as on 2 p.m. IST) were generated on April 1 and April 2, respectively. Adhia said GST collections for February have been updated to Rs 89,264 crore from Rs 85,174 crore reported earlier.

Pending integrated goods and services tax and input tax credit refunds of taxpayers were also sanctioned at the initiative of Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs.

  • IGST refunds worth Rs 9,604 crore sanctioned out of valid IGST claims forwarded by GSTN.
  • Input tax refunds worth Rs 5,510 crore sanctioned by end of financial year, and Rs 2,502 crore worth of refunds sanctioned by states.