Says rationalising tax rates to let free flow of refunds and credits could keep revenue stream steady
Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) Chairman Vivek Johri on Thursday expected average monthly GST collection of ₹1.30-1.35-lakh crore in the current fiscal.
Speaking at ‘In Conversation Series’, organised by FICCI’s committee against smuggling and counterfeiting activities destroying the economy (CASCADE), Johri said GST collections have been consistently higher than the GDP growth rate. There is a bounce-back in the economy, and the inflation and boil in oil prices have helped. Revenues will be under pressure on the Customs side because of rising commodity prices. Excise will take a hit because of the duty cut.
“But to continue revenue buoyancy, we have to change our strategy. One possible way to continue revenue stream is to rationalise the tax rates to let refunds and credits flow freely, reverse the inversions,” he said.
Tackling illicit trade
Johri highlighted the extent of the menace of smuggling and said: “At CBIC, we are going aggressively against illicit trade in these goods. In 2021-22, we seized 92,000 kg of narcotics worth ₹17,400 crore; we also seized 14 crore cigarette sticks.” He further added that artificial intelligence and data analytics are playing a pivotal role and have significantly helped deal with the growing menace of illicit trade.
“CBIC is trying to overcome these challenges in a systemic way, and have ramped up the use of technology in their operations with 22 cargo scanners at 16 locations to ensure 100 per cent scanning of all containers coming into the country through gateway ports,” said Johri.
Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE, said illicit trade is increasingly hurting the Indian economy and has crept into multiple sections of the society. Immediate steps are required, both in the form of policy intervention and awareness generation, to address this growing menace.
“It is indeed heartening to see how CBIC is using AI, blockchain, machine learning to strengthen the enforcement agencies. Complimenting the GST council and CBIC for a well-balanced tax policy and maintaining equal thrust on revenue augmentation and strict handling of tax evaders,” he said.