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Government to cut down non-essential imports: Arun Jaitley

16 September 2018

Speaking to reporters after Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed various departments of the finance ministry, he said the government is confident of surpassing the 7.2-7.5 percent GDP growth rate projected in the Budget for 2018-19. The government had in the budget projected direct tax collection of Rs 11.5 lakh crore for 2018-19 fiscal. He said that government is confident to achieve the fiscal deficit target for the current fiscal year.

"As far as capital expenditure is concerned, already we have spent about 44% of the budgeted expenditure till 31 August and we will end the year without any cuts and will maintain the 100% capital expenditure", he said.

On the GST factor and indirect taxes, Arun Jaitley said that the new tax regime is settling down.

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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley attends a seminar with state finance ministers on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) issues, in Srinagar May 18, 2017. He also assured that inflation would be broadly under control. The government, in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also made a decision to remove restrictions on external commercial borrowings, masala bonds to control the current account deficit, which slipped for the first time in six quarters in April-June. "I think it should have an impact of $8-10 billion", he was quoted as saying by PTI. "The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) is very clear that this year we will be able to collect in excess of the budgeted target", said Jaitley. In a Facebook post in June, Jaitley had said demands of huge cuts in fuel prices by opposition parties could lead India into a debt trap. The PM is reviewing the state of the economy against the backdrop of the rupee being battered over the past few weeks as well as growing unease over rising petrol and diesel prices.

"The primary focus of yesterday's discussions was with regard to current account deficit and how to narrow it down and possible steps with that regard".

The steps include removal of withholding tax on rupee-denominated bonds known as Masala bonds issued till March next year, relaxation for Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI), and curbs on non-essential imports. Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) gave a detailed presentation to PM Modi. And even though we had a stiff target for direct tax collection, we can now see the impact of all the anti-black money measures which we had taken, like demonetisation and the GST. "There is phenomenal increase in the assessee base.in the quantum of advance tax which has been paid", he said. "We are also optimistic of growth rate and tax collections". "With the kind of pickup in consumption which has taken place, it will have an impact on GST collection in future months. Govt will meet the target if not surpass it", he said.

Government to cut down non-essential imports: Arun Jaitley