The revenue department has got cracking to get its field officers to mobilize more resources during the last 100 days of the financial year as the government faces a tax shortfall of over Rs 1,000 billion. Revenue secretary Shaktikanta Das discussed ways to mop up more resources during a video conference with 50 income tax chief commissioners. A weak corporate sector performance has got the department to ask the direct tax field formations, especially in Mumbai, to accelerate efforts to meet the targets. Barring Delhi, most centres are a little behind the asking rate on the direct tax side, prompting North Block to step in early to avert any possibility of lower-than-budgeted collections.
The Mid-Term Economic Analysis has estimated that the government may have overprojected revenue collections by Rs 1,100 billion with the majority of the shortfall on account of customs and excise duty estimated at around Rs 690 billion. But, it acknowledged that hefty refund payments to clear arrears of close to three years and weaker than expected economic recovery may result in a shortfall of around Rs 360 billion on the direct tax front.
Sources said chief commissioners in Mumbai have been asked to work out a strategy to step up collections during the current financial year. With several companies headquartered in Mumbai, the financial capital is the largest source of income tax collections for the government.
While overall direct tax collections are expected to be met, sources said the government was keen to ensure that overall realization was not short of the target.
So far, Delhi is ahead of the run rate, while other centres, led by Mumbai, are lagging. “The pace needs to pick up in the rest of the country,” said an official. On December 15 too, Das met 600 income tax officers and assistant commissioners and 500 customs and excise officers in Mumbai to strategize on meeting the targets. Similar exercise is planned across the country, particularly in major centres such as Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bengaluru.
When contacted, Das confirmed the meetings. “The department is putting its best foot forward to achieve the targets,” he said but did not elaborate further.
Sources said the revenue department is planning several such exercises, including one with officers from the Central Board of Excise & Customs, to ask them to shore up mobilization during the last quarter.