NEW DELHI: The government is expected to close 2018-19 with a Rs 60,000 crore shortfall in direct tax collections with mop-up till Friday estimated at Rs 11.38 lakh crore, compared to the revised target of Rs 12 lakh crore. With tax officials also worried over deficit in central goods and services tax (CGST) kitty, only a savings on the spending side can help the Centre meet its fiscal deficit target.
Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) officials said the overall kitty for the last financial year is only expected to swell by a small amount over the next few days as there may be a few pending transfers, leaving a hole that is virtually impossible to fill. But, the government is happy with the fact that it has seen collections rise 13.5% on a strong base, making it the third straight year of strong growth in collections.
While filed officers always feared that the revised estimate would be tough to meet, the CBDT brass was pushing hard to meet the target and managed to mop up nearly Rs 1 lakh crore during the last three days of the fiscal year. Apart from collections of Rs 11.18 lakh crore reflected in the tax department’s system, another Rs 20,000 crore is estimated to have been collected by the Central TDS wing.
But the shortfall may not be limited to direct taxes as officials said the central GST collections could be around Rs 35,000-40,000 crore short of target, despite a record haul in March.
While the numbers will mean that tax officials have their task cut out for the current financial year, it also points to the need for more realistic targets.
The government will, however, budget for some savings on the spending front as some of the schemes announced in the February 1 Budget such as the farm income support, for which Rs 20,000 crore was earmarked, may not see the full outgo. Several Opposition-ruled states have refused to share the list of beneficiaries, resulting in the amount not getting transferred.
In the last financial year, the government has initially budgeted for a fiscal deficit of 3.3% of the gross domestic product, which was revised to 3.4%, when the interim budget was presented.
This was also the time when the direct tax target was increased by Rs 50,000 crore.
Source- Times of India.