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Government to cut down non-essential imports: Arun Jaitley

16 September 2018

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday attended the economic affairs review meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.

These assurances were given after the Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the economic situation with the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and other senior Cabinet Ministers. "We are confident that between direct and indirect tax collections, the government would comfortably meet its target".

The finance minister said the GST was settling down and a pick-up in consumption would obviously have an impact on the collections in the coming months.

He also exuded the confidence of surpassing the Rs 1 lakh crore target from disinvestment proceeds.

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He added that CBDT was "very clear" that this year the government would be able to collect taxes in excess of the budgeted target. "Government is confident of meeting the 3.3% fiscal deficit target".

The meeting on Saturday assumes significance due to free fall in the value of the Rupee and increase in fuel prices which are life time high. The BJP leader also said the inflation was broadly under control. This comment appears to be reply to some experts who fear that the fiscal deficit will be higher than the budget target as deficit (difference between income and the expenditure of the Government) for the first four months (April-July) of the current fiscal has already exceeded 86.5 per cent.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Urjit Patel had made a presentation to the PM on Friday about the state of the economy after which the government unveiled a five-point plan to shore up the rupee and trim the current account deficit.

Asked if fuel prices and duty cuts were discussed, he said the meeting today was internal review meeting. Petrol and diesel prices have also touched record highs.

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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.

"After those detailed presentations, Prime Minister expressed his satisfaction with regard to the broad parameters in relation to economy and macroeconomic data which is so far emerging this year". "I am reasonably confident of the government meeting the total tax receipts target, combining direct and indirect taxes, as any slippage on indirect tax collection may be compensated by growth in direct taxes". 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 a phenomenal increase in the quantum of advance tax which has been paid".

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Government to cut down non-essential imports: Arun Jaitley