Widening tax base makes Arun Jaitley a happy man

As many as 6.86 crore I-T returns have been filed this year and the number is expected to go up to 7.6 crore before the present government completes its five-year term, the finance minister said

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New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Friday said the number of income taxpayers can double to almost 12 crore with an increased formalisation of the economy.

As many as 6.86 crore I-T returns have been filed this year and the number is expected to go up to 7.6 crore before the present government completes its five-year term, the finance minister said.

“3.8 crore people filed I-T returns in 2014 when the NDA government came to power. There are 25-26 crore families here. The country is capable of having a 10-11-12 crore taxpayer base,” Jaitley said at the ‘Jagran Conclave’ here.

India’s normal rate of growth is 7.5-8% and the country will continue to grow at this rate, despite some deviation in one or two quarters, Jaitley said. “Oil prices are a drag… India can continue to grow at the same pace for two decades, but we need mature leadership for that,” the minister said.

The Indian economy grew at 6.7% in 2017-18 fiscal. In the April-June and July-September quarters of the current financial year, the GDP expanded by 8.2% and 7.1% respectively.

Jaitley said India has the capacity to grow at least 5% more than the average growth rate of the rest of the world.

Fitch Ratings in its Global Economic Outlook Thursday forecast global GDP growth at 3.3% for 2018. India, it said, will grow at 7.2% in the current fiscal ending March 2019.