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No impact on social sector spending due to tax shortfall: FM

No impact on social sector spending due to tax shortfall: FM

Kolkata: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday ruled out any scaling down of the social sector spending due to any possible shortfall of tax revenues.

“Any tax collection shortfall will not affect commitments made to social sector spending”, she said after interaction with industry and tax officials here in her continuing series of meetings with stakeholders.

Her statement comes amid speculation that some welfare schemes may be axed due to possible shortfall in revenues due to poor tax collections. The Government has many welfare projects on hand such as giving income support to farmers among others. The gross Goods and Services Tax (GST) collection in August, 2019 stood at Rs 98,202 crore.

On the usage of the RBI’s Rs 1.76 lakh crore surplus transfer to the government which could be utilised for social welfare projects, she said the government has not decided how to use the funds.

Earlier she said wealth creators and job creators have to be facilitated, hinting at a better approach towards the assesses.

“We have given a message to the tax officer that while performing duties, do not overreach… assessess are well within their right to treat a tax notice without DIN (Document Identification Number), she said, adding the government is engaging with tax stakeholders to understand and address any issues they face. The tax department has to promote faceless scrutiny. It will reduce tax harassment from Vijay Dashmi day”, the FM said.

She further stressed that identification for audits will be faceless, randomised and use of technology will make assessment process a lot more transparent.

On the steps to check slowdown, the FM said the government has addressed apprehensions of manufacturers and consumers. She said many of the government responses are in step with recommendations made by stakeholders. “We are looking at challenges the various sectors are facing, we are speaking to stakeholders and taking a considered view on the response we can give to various challenges. We are continuously engaging with all sectors to assess challenges and formulate responses”, she said.

In the last few days , Sitharaman has announced a slew of measures, including withdrawal of FPI surcharge, merger of banks among the key steps to boost the economy and take the industry out of slowdown.

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