Govt will meet all fiscal targets, Arun Jaitley says after review

Modi govt takes steps to check current account deficit and rein in rupee

Modi Government has assured that fiscal deficit for the current year will be within the budget target which is 3.3 per cent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product). Prime Minister will also be brain storming over economic issues and "state of the economy" with economists and senior government officials on Saturday. However, till now finance ministry has resisted pressure to cut taxes on fuel.

Government can ill-afford to lower the guard against fiscal deficit as a twin deficit problem including already high current account deficit could further dampen market confidence in the Indian economy. The Government went into huddle on Friday and announced five measures to support falling rupee.

Jaitley said, "The department of revenue made a detailed presentation to say that we are already ahead of the schedule in direct tax collections". The government, in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also chose 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 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. There is phenomenal increase in the assessee base.in the quantum of advance tax which has been paid", he said.

On GST, he said the new indirect tax regime is settling down and "with the kind of pick up in consumption which has taken place, obviously will have an impact on GST collections in the future months". "Govt will meet the target if not surpass it", he said.

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The finance minister tried to assuage investors that economic growth would not be compromised while containing the fiscal deficit. "We will have a growth rate higher than what we'd projected earlier this year in the budget", Jaitley said while adding that there will be no capital expenditure which means growth will not have to face any hurdle. The BJP leader also said the inflation was broadly under control. Masala bonds are rupee-denominated instruments through which Indian entities can raise funds by accessing overseas capital markets.

The government will, however, find it an uphill task to meet the disinvestment target after cancelling immediate plans of selling national carrier Air India, although Jaitley said the government will meet the Rs 80,000 crore target for stake sale in state-owned enterprises. However, the numbers released by the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) have revealed that direct tax collections grew by only 6.6 per cent during April-July.

The Government hoped that these measures will have impact up to $10 billion and bring some stability in rupee.

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