India is much better equipped to deal with the revival of COVID-19 events, and the economy, as well as the creation of informal sector jobs, is expected to continue to improve this year. In an interview, Tarun Bajaj, Minister, Revenue & Department of Economic Affairs in the Finance Ministry, said.
With the financial year 2020-21 behind us, where do you see the state of the economy this year? Is the second wave a worry?
The economy is in much better shape.
You’ve seen the expected growth rates from different agencies. We’ve expected a 10.4% growth rate this year, but the IMF has forecasted more than 11%, and Fitch Ratings forecasted a rate of 12.8 percent yesterday. As a consequence, I believe the economy is now in a much better position.
The second wave, on the other hand, is a slight cause of concern. At the same time, we are better trained to deal with it. At this time, no state has declared a lockout. Maharashtra has made a declaration but has not followed through, which is understandable.
Living with COVID has become the new standard. So, now that our health system has been updated and vaccines are available, we should use these methods rather than a lockout to deal with the situation. If we do so, we will ensure that there are jobs in the informal sector and that the economy continues to expand. We also have a high degree of adaptability.
When I compare Delhi now to when it was under complete lockdown, I think I might drive down at 100 kmph. The traffic situation is currently regular. As a result, I believe that people are aware that we now have to live with the coronavirus. But I am assured that we will be able to conquer this challenge.
Have revenue collections improved over the past two months, perhaps more than the revised estimates presented in the Budget?
In both direct and indirect taxes, revenue estimates have been much higher in the months of February and March. The direct tax gross receipts would not be less than 2% to 3% of what they were last year in 2019-20, which is a substantial difference.
In reality, we have given taxpayers a refund of 70,000 crore more than the previous year, which was about 1.86 lakh crore. We have refunded more than 2.622 lakh crore this year. The GST collections for the month of March set a new high; they’ve never been higher. By a wide margin, we have exceeded the record sets.
What is the update on tax disputes resolved under the Vivaad Se Vishwas dispute resolution scheme?
More than 1.33 lakh applications worth Rs 99,960 crore have been submitted, with around Rs 53,800 crore already modified (as of March 31, 5 p.m.).
Industry players, particularly international companies, are worried about the consequences of the equalization levy, which, based on its wording, appears to include even businesses that aren’t using an e-commerce platform but are simply exchanging e-mails or using digital forms of payment as part of a transaction…
In this regard, we will also give a clarification.