With the draft direct taxes code being criticised for its proposal to tax long-term savings among others, the finance ministry on Wednesday said a revised draft will be put for public comments within a month for addressing the concerns of all stakeholders.
“The revised draft on the direct taxes code will be put in the public domain shortly…I am confident that it will take care of all the concerns expressed by various stakeholders,” Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told the annual conference of chief commissioners and directors general of income tax in New Delhi .
Central Board of Direct Taxes chairman SSN Moorthy later told newsmen the revised draft will be out within a month.
The finance ministry had sought public comments on the first DTC draft which will replace the archaic Income Tax Act. However, the first draft drew criticism from certain quarters for its proposals to tax long-term savings at the time of withdrawal, imposing minimum alternate tax (MAT) on the basis of gross assets as against profits at present and its silence on offering tax rebates for home loans.
“A new DTC draft is under revision taking into consideration the areas of concern expressed by various stakeholders,” Mukherjee said, adding the DTC Bill will be introduced in the monsoon session. “It will indeed be a legislation for the 21st century that will witness the emergence of an economically strong and vibrant India.”
Anticipating that the DTC will usher in major changes in the direct taxes regime, he asked the I-T department to draw a roadmap for administratively meeting the challenges and the changes that will be introduced in the new legislation.
Reiterating that the economy will grow by 8.5 per cent this fiscal, he asked the department to monitor fast-growing sectors to check tax evasion. He also directed them to look at smaller towns and cities that have emerged as centres of growth due to the inclusive growth agenda of the government, to widen the tax base.
Mukherjee further asked IT officials to try hard to give the exchequer little extra than the targeted Rs 430,000 crore this fiscal. “My appetite is infinite and my greed is more,” he quipped.
Revenue secretary Sunil Mitra said the revised target of Rs 387,000 crore was missed by about Rs 8,000 crore (Rs 80 billion) last fiscal and could have been met, if Mumbai and Delhi “had worked harder”.
At the meeting, Mukherjee announced operationalisation of Rs 100 crore (Rs 1 billion) Income Tax Welfare Fund, pending since 1998. “The fund has a corpus of Rs 100 crore kept in interest-bearing deposit. The interest earned annually on this deposit, and other annual accruals to the fund, will be available for welfare activities of I-T department employees,” he said.
Mukherjee expressed hope that CBDT will come out with innovative welfare measures to further motivate its employees to excel in their work.