The Budget is about continuing growth : Sanjay Malhotra, Secretary Revenue, Ministry of Finance

NEW DELHI. 02 February 2023: Addressing the FICCI‘s Interactive Session on Union Budget 2023-24, Mr Sanjay Malhotra, Secretary Revenue, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, underlined growth, fiscal consolidation, and inclusivity as the three themes of the Union Budget 2023-24. 


Mr. Malhotra said that “this budget is about continuing growth in the country” and ensuring that the “benefits percolate to each and every individual”. He underscored that there is something for every segment of society, adding, “the government has tried to ensure that the benefits of growth are passed on to them through transfers and other means”. 


The Secretary emphasised that on the taxation front “the budget is about partnership and building trust”. He noted that decriminalisation of certain provisions in GST and income tax along with schemes for presumptive taxation will make taxpayers life simple. He said “The effort in the taxation part of the budget is how we simplify and build a trust-based relationship and increase revenues, but without increasing the rates”. 


He also emphasised that the increased tax buoyancy, at 24%, is “not because we have increased the rates” but rather a result of the “increase in the tax base from 60 lakhs to 140 lakhs over five years”.  


Mr Vivek Johri, Chairperson, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, Ministry of Finance, in his special address highlighted, “our approach to the budget on the custom side is of simplification”. He added, “we’ve brought down the number of rates from 21 to 13”. In addition, Mr Johri noted the large number of exemptions that have built up over time, have outlived their utility. He stressed, “starting last year’s budget, we did a major review exercise of customs duty exemptions. We have taken that theme forward in this budget. And we have once again looked at exemptions, which no longer needed to be there in the statute”. 


CBIC chairperson further underlined, “we have used tariffs as a policy instrument for enabling value addition and domestic production and deepening that value addition”. He highlighted about tariff support announced in this budget for the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries for EVs, wind-operated generators, solar panels, and denatured ethyl alcohol, among others.


He stressed that to give effect to the GST changes already cleared by the GST Council, changes have been announced in the budget. He emphasised that, “GST council had announced that the monetary limit for prosecutions in GST would be enhanced from tax amount of INR One Crore to INR Two Crores, barring cases of the fake ITC, or fake invoice”. Further, he also highlighted about decriminalisation of certain offences under GST laws and liberalisation in compounding provisions. 


In addition, he accentuated the new section being introduced in GST law for sharing the information submitted in GST returns with other authorities and agencies after the taxpayer’s consent. Mr. Johri noted that the underlying idea is to aid banks and financial institutions in giving working capital loans to MSMEs based on the return information. Mr Johri, stressed that, “where the taxpayer agrees and gives us his consent, we can pass on that information to a financial institution who can then provide them requisite working capital loans”. 


Mr. Nitin GuptaChairperson, Central Board of Direct Taxes, also spoke on the occasion. He emphasised, “all in all, it’s a budget which caters to all sections of the society, industry, professionals, businessmen, and tries to provide relief wherever it’s found to be feasible”. 


Speaking on occasion, Mr Arun Chawla, Director General, FICCI, noted, “the announcements made yesterday capture the pulse of the economy while retaining credibility, both in terms of projections as well as committing to the fiscal consolidation glide path”. Further, he added that the revision in tax rates under the new regime would augur well on the consumption side as the thrust of the tax proposals has been to continue with the policy of a stable, simple and trustworthy tax regime. 

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