Fiscal consolidation process on track: Jayant Sinha

Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha

The government is committed to carry the process of fiscal consolidation to its logical end, Minister of State for FinanceJayant Sinha informed Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

“Fiscal consolidation has been designed with judicious mix of rationalisation in total expenditure as a percentage of GDP and improvement in gross tax revenues as a percentage of GDP”, he said in a written reply to the Upper House.

To mobilise higher amount of resources, he said the government has been taking legal, administrative and technological measures.

On the expenditure side, the government has initiated measures for expenditure management, fiscal prudence, subsidy reforms, and direct transfer of benefits (DBT), Sinha added.

The government has pegged the fiscal deficit at 3.9 per cent of the GDP in 2015-16. The deficit was 4 per cent of GDP in the previous financial year.

He further said the Plan fund provided in the Budget 2015-16 is in line with the trend of absorptive capacity of Ministries/Departments and the actual expenditure incurred in previous years.

“In fact, the government made an attempt to make realistic estimates of the Plan Budget to avoid a situation of inflated projection at BE (Budget Estimate) level followed by massive cuts at RE (Revised Estimate) stage and the actual expenditure even less than RE”, Sinha said.

To another question, he said there is no revenue loss to the government due to e-commerce or online shopping in India.

“As the goods sold through online are either manufactured in India or imported into India, such goods have suffered excise duty/customs duty at the time of clearance/import thereof. Therefore, there is no lack of mechanism to collect government revenue from the business companies engaged in e-commerce or online shopping”, he said.

He also said that if an e-tailing company sells goods on its own account, such sale is liable to VAT, which is a state subject.

Trading of goods online does not attract levy of service tax as they are included under negative list of services.

If the e-tailing company provides support to the retailer by way of business support, such as, affiliation, storage, delivery, technical support etc and goods are sold by the retailer, the fee collected by the e-tailing company attracts service tax.