FM asks CBEC officials for quick decisions to ensure stability

New Delhi: Ahead of the Budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today asked CBEC officials for the need for tax reforms and quick decision making to ensure stability in policy regime.

The Minister also asked the Central Board of Excise and Customs ( CBEC) officials to maintain certain level of civility with assessees but to take to task the evaders and avoiders.

“Those who are liable to pay must pay…no evader or avoider must be allowed to go scot-free. At the same time, the levels of civility that we require in dealing with assessees will have to be very logical, very cogent,” he said at an the Investiture Ceremony to honour the officers of Customs and Central Excise for their excellent performance and International Customs Day function organised here today by CBEC.

“In order to make best use of this opportunity, we have to address two major concerns that is quick decision making and stability in policy matters, and reforms in tax structure and administration,” he said.

“There is need for change both in attitude and mindset towards investors’ and assesses. We need to have a non-adversarial tax administration which is both investors’ and assesses’ friendly,” he said.

Jaitley, who is scheduled to present the Budget in Lok Sabha on February 28, expressed confidence that the fiscal deficit target of 4.1 per cent of the GDP for the current fiscal would be met.

“Even though the revenues have been challenging due to slow manufacturing industry, now, it is turning around and it looks like we will be able to meet our fiscal targets,” he said.

Revenue collections which was affected due to low manufacturing in the last 2-3 years are also turning around. Forex reserves are good and Current Account Deficit (CAD) position is much better, he added.

Current account deficit stood at USD 10.1 billion or 2.1 per cent of GDP in July-September quarter of this fiscal, up from 1.2 per cent during the year ago period due to rising gold imports.

The current account deficit (CAD) is the net difference between inflows and outflows of foreign currencies.

Stating that the last one week had been a great learning for him, Jaitley said, “The sense I got in last few days is that ordinarily everything is going well with India.

“From depressing slowdown in last last two three years, suddenly our growth rates are likely to look up.”

On the other hand, competing economies globally have not been so good.

“Brazil faces a challenge, South Africa faces challenge. Europe is still struggling to come out of slowdown. China which has maintained a growth rate of over 9 per cent for over 3 decades is looking at new normal,” he said.

The Finance Minister said that Indian currency was among the two global currencies which withstood the might of dollar in recent times.

Inputs with PTI