Step up efforts to meet revenue targets, FM tells tax officials

Apprehending slippages in tax collection, finance minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday asked revenue officials to beef up efforts to achieve the budgeted target in the remaining period of the current fiscal.

"There is of course apprehension that you may fall short of budget target. But, nevertheless, in the remaining seven weeks or so you must make efforts to achieve the budgeted target," Chidambaram said while addressing officials of the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC).

Government has budgeted to collect over R 5.05 lakh crore in the current fiscal from indirect taxes that comprise excise, customs and service tax.

The indirect tax collection during April-November grew at a moderate rate of 16.8% to R2.92 lakh crore, as against the annual growth target of 27%.

The finance minister attributed the subdued growth in tax collection to slackening economic activity. "This has been a difficult year for tax collection too. As economy slowed down, imports also slowed down, manufacturing too was subdued and therefore collections have been affected," he said, adding that he has urged the board to continue with efforts to achieve the budgeted target.

The industrial output growth shrank 0.1% in November. Imports in the first nine months of this financial year dipped by 0.71% to %361.2 billion.

The economy grew by 5.4% in the first half of the current fiscal, lower than 7.3 per cent growth clocked in the year-ago period.

It is likely to grow by 5.7% in the current fiscal, which would be a decade's low. This is lower than 6.2% recorded in the previous year.

The minister also asked the tax officials to shift to technology driven regime instead of following "heavy handed" tax administration.

Chidambaram said the shift in tax administration system will not be smooth, but "we cannot abandon that path".

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