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Give and take: Arun Jaitley juggles taxes to meet fiscal challenges

Friday, 11 July 2014 - 6:00am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna

  • Budgeting for all

An ambitious tax collection target and an equally ambitious tax compliance seem to form the backbone of finance minister Arun Jaitley's maiden budget through which he plans to take on the fiscal challenges facing the economy head on.

So the Rs17,94,892 crore budget for 2014-15 that Jaitley tabled in Parliament on Thursday has tax revenue component of Rs9,77,258 crore, which is almost 17% more than the revised estimate for the collection figure of Rs8,36,026 crore for 2013-14.

Interestingly, the tax department has been short of the collection figures originally estimated in the budget 2013-14 by almost Rs60,000 crore. And this has been the trend in the last few years – thereby forcing finance minister to cut the plan expenditure every time to shore up his deficit figures.

In the BJP-led NDA's first budget though almost a lakh crore more has been allocated than what was allocated for Plan Expenditure in last year. So what kind of compliance levels the tax department is actually planning to ensure that by the year end there is no UPA-like situation; curtailing spend to salvage the fisc. Revenue secretary Shaktikanta Das told dna: "The message is that the administration is going to be non-adversarial. They will act as facilitator and service provider. A number of measures will be taken to reduce the number of litigation cases. But the government's main aim is stability in the tax policy."

No plain vanilla planning though it may sound so. The revenue department is banking hugely on the funds locked in litigation. Almost four lakh crore of it! And the ministry is damn serious about it. A source told dna: "The Central Board of Direct Taxes has formulated a date-wise plan for addressing the cases, which they have prioritised in four baskets."

The total revenue receipts meanwhile has been pegged at Rs11,89,763 crore in the budget. This comprises corporation tax of Rs4,51,005 crore. The next big chunk of government collection after that is Rs2,84,266 crore of personal income tax collections. Customs collection in the current financial year is pegged at Rs2,01,819 crore, excise (Rs2,07,110 crore) and service tax (Rs2,15,973 crore).

On the expenditure side, meanwhile, the Plan Expenditure is pegged at Rs5,75,000 crore and the non plan expenditure is pegged at Rs12,19,892 crore.

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