Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, while speaking at the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) on Tuesday, said that the government was close to doubling tax base. “My own estimation is that from 2014 to 2019, we will be almost very close to doubling our tax base, which in a five-year period to do is quite difficult. That is the result of all these changes- the new indirect tax structure, the improvement in the direct tax structure … so the revenues went up. Now this gave us a flexibility to take a departure from the past where they were only pro poor slogans,” he said.
Talking about the implementation of Goods and Service Tax(GST), he said that there were no protests against the move. “In the first year, number of indirect tax assesses increased by 74 percent. That is the impact,” said Jaitley. On demonetisation, he said that it was a difficult step “but helped us to make it clear that formalisation of the economy is our clear intent”, adding “when we took over, there were 3.8 crore people who gave an income tax return … in four years, it has already moved up to about 6.8 crore and I am sure this year it will be very close to 7.5-7.6 figure which is almost doubling it.”
The finance minister further added that every Indian village was connected with a “regular road” and transportation of agriculture had become much easier. He said that 60 percent of the poor were getting subsidised food. “This year for example we are going to be spending about Rs 1,72,000 crore only on the food subsidy,” he said. He further mentioned that by December 31, 2018, every house would be electrified. On the project of rural housing scheme, he said, “The next program is to make sure that every body has a house. So, the rural housing scheme- by 2022 or so we perhaps would be in the position to achieve that if revenues keep moving up same way.”