Shome: Need to do more on expenditure efficiency
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A key adviser to finance minister P Chidambaram on Thursday said that there could be scope to further increase the tax payer base. Pointing out that the number of personal income taxpayers have risen from 18 million in 1995 to about 35 million now, Parthasarathi Shome, adviser to FM said, "How much more can we actually expand the taxpayer base?"
Shome, who was addressing the National Executive Committee Meeting of industry body Ficci on Thursday, also said the government is showing its intention to bring in clarity in tax laws and reforms in tax administration. "We have to increasingly do so (tax reforms). That is going to be a vehicle and we won't put it on the back burner," he said.
With the Union Budget 2013-14 just a month away, he also said that expenditure control and management is a key challenge before the finance ministry. "We are looking into expenditure efficiency. We should do more in terms of efficiency," he said.
The issue was also highlighted by Chidambaram had also recently said the government will present a 'responsible' Budget next month where fiscal consolidation would be a key element.
While pointing out that there has been some improvement in controlling non plan expenditure, Shome said the government will achieve the fiscal deficit target of 5.3 per cent of the GDP.
Meanwhile, Shome also announced that the government will come up with a modified Direct Taxes Code (DTC) Bill after incorporating the suggestions of the Standing Committee on Finance, which among things had suggested raising annual income tax exemption limit to Rs 3 lakh.
"We will come out with modified DTC (Bill) in response to Standing Committee suggestions," he said, adding that the finance ministry is looking at the Bill and working on tax structures as suggested by the Parliamentary committee.
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