Government officials, including finance secretary Hasmukh Adhia (2nd from left) and economic affairs secretary Subhash Chandra Garg (extreme right) at the Standard Chartered-CNBC-TV18 India Business Leader Awards in Delhi on Friday. Photo: CNBC-TV18 News/Twitter
Government officials, including finance secretary Hasmukh Adhia (2nd from left) and economic affairs secretary Subhash Chandra Garg (extreme right) at the Standard Chartered-CNBC-TV18 India Business Leader Awards in Delhi on Friday. Photo: CNBC-TV18 News/Twitter

Indian economy on a strong footing, say govt officials

The officials said the government's priority was to ensure that the reform measures were carried forward so that stated objectives were achieved

New Delhi: India’s economic growth, as well as tax collections, are likely to be robust in fiscal year 2018-19, while the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in the last leg of its tenure focuses on consolidating reform measures already initiated, senior finance ministry officials said.

Addressing business leaders at the Standard Chartered-CNBC-TV18 India Business Leader Awards in the national capital—where Aditya Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla won the “Outstanding Business Leader of the Year Award"—the officials said the government’s priority was to ensure that the reform measures were carried forward so that stated objectives were achieved.

“The priority is to execute the decisions (taken in line with) the intended objectives of the government, whether it is cleaning up the economy of black money, banking reforms or strategic disinvestment," finance secretary Hasmukh Adhia said. Soon after the first quarter of 2018-19, goods and services tax (GST) collections are likely to touch Rs1 trillion “easily", Adhia said. The authorities collected Rs85,174 crore in GST in March on sales made in February.

With GST revenue stagnating at this level for three months the government has started taking steps to tackle potential tax evasion under the new indirect tax regime. So far, the administration’s focus has been to hand-hold businesses in the transition period.

Adhia also said that in the current fiscal year, GST revenue will get a boost on account of the implementation of e-way bills for the movement of goods, as well as other safety features of the new indirect tax system which are to be implemented, among which is invoice matching.

Economic affairs secretary Subhash Chandra Garg said the economy is expected to grow in the range of 7-7.5% in 2018-19, with the actual growth rate being close to the upper end of the range.

Information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who was present on the occasion, said taxation, education and health through digital platforms are three sectors that the government is focusing on. Prasad said the government has managed to save Rs83,000 crore in the last three years due to digital delivery of services and eradication of middlemen.

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