No decision Taken on Bank Transaction Tax, Govt. examining recommendations received from Chief Ministers’ Panel: Shaktikanta Das

The Government has not taken any decision with regard to the tax on bank transactions, though it has received a set of recommendations from the Committee of Chief Ministers, Economic Affairs secretary, Mr Shaktikanta Das said at ASSOCHAM’s 96th Annual Function.

“The government is carefully examining the report, no decision has been taken so far, as and when a decision is taken, naturally government will give it out,” said Mr Das.

Highlighting India’s strong fiscal foundation, he said, “Fiscal deficit has gradually been brought down, it is necessary to find the right balance between requirements of public expenditure and fiscal consolidation by targeting those sectors of economy where you need to spend more.”

He said that the government has certain fiscal constraints and it will be difficult for the government to reduce corporate tax rates to 25 per cent overnight because fiscal cost will be very high and government will not be able to do justice to various other sectors of the economy – agriculture, rural infrastructure and other areas.

Talking about India’s growth prospective, Mr Das said though the world scenario overall remains uncertain, the outlook for India’s growth is very positive.

“We would expect the growth to be upwards of seven per cent on the back of various policy measures taken by the government both before and during the budget and which the government will continue to take in the coming months,” said the Economic Affairs secretary.

“Our growth is premised on creating more job opportunities through increased infrastructure spending by carrying out reforms and new policy initiatives in sectors like – textiles, leather, footwear and other similar sectors by taking tax reform measures, by continuing with the policy of reforms,” he added.

With regards to taxation, he said that the government is very much committed to ensure that tax administration is taxpayer friendly. “Emphasis of the government is on honouring the honest. The Revenue Department, CBEC (Central Board of Excise and Customs) and CBDT (Central Board of Direct Taxes) are taking number of steps to ensure that there is no misuse of power, the annual performance reports of officers in the tax departments together with orders passed by officers of income tax are also being gone through by senior level officers.”

He also said that private sector should also take stringent steps in this regard. “While from the government side, we are taking steps, I think from the private sector and industry side we would encourage similar steps to be taken as the tax administration at the highest level, in the ministry is working towards bringing about greater accountability, transparency.”

Highlighting the strong and robust reforms undertaken by the government on tax side, he said that the reform agenda of the government will continue as spelt out by the finance minister in this year’s budget.

On the issue of transfer of technology, Mr Das said that India has to use its markets and low-cost manufacturing capabilities to ensure that there is domestic manufacturing. “We have to spend more on research and developing own technological capabilities.”

In her address at the ASSOCHAM event, Union Textile Minister, Ms Smriti Irani said stressed upon the need for systematic reforms as the challenges faced by India over 70 years ago still stand.

“Industry cannot grow at the cost of labour rights, as such the government has also ensured of safeguarding labours’ interest, besides state levies will be refunded to industry to fuel growth and create job opportunities,” said Ms Irani.

“This government understands the need for entrepreneurship even of the not financially stable section of the society,” she said.

She added that another example set by this government is the declaration of rail and general budget together for the first time ever.