Finance Minister P Chidambaram today said that the government wanted a quick rollout of LPG subsidy under the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT). The rollout all over the country is likely to be completed by the end of 2013-14, he added.
The government has taken steps to remove curbs on domestic sugar supplies after months of debate India – the world’s second-biggest producer – hopes to iron out sharp swings in output that have triggered volatility in global prices. The annual subsidy bill will go up by Rs 2,500-2,600 crore as a result of sugar sector decontrol. Sugar decontrol a major step which will benefit farmer and industry, Chidambaram said.
Commenting on the sting operation conducted by news website CobraPost on HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank, Chidambaram that stern action in case of tax evasion will be taken. He also said that the government has taken steps to ensure that people don’t evade tax. He said that an additional 50 lakh people have filed Income Tax returns and the government has reached the tax target of Rs 10,38,037 crore tax target for 2012-13.
“As always there will be some savings (on expenditure). So what does it mean … if we reach the revenue target and if there are some savings, the fiscal deficit will be better than 5.2 per cent that I have projected,” Chidambaram told reporters.
He, however, did not “hazard a guess” on the actual fiscal deficit number for 2012-13. On revenue collections, Chidambaram said while there was a slippage on direct taxes front, the indirect tax mop up has exceeded the revised estimates.
“Government will come out with amendments to Income Tax Act once the tax dispute with Vodafone is resolved,” he said.
Fiscal Deficit and CAD
He added that the current account deficit (CAD) number in fiscal 2013 will be at a tolerable level and ruled out an early election. Fiscal deficit will also be better than 5.2 for 2012-13.
He expects GDP to grow by a little over 6 per cent in 2013-14 while achieving revenue targets and said that revenue growth of 16.7 percent commendable.
The FM also hoped that the Insurance Amendment Bill will be passed in the current Budget session of Parliament.