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Last Updated : Dec 13, 2019 05:35 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Buzz everywhere, other than in my office: FM Nirmala Sitharaman on GST rate increase reports

Sitharaman addressed a press conference to enumerate on measures introduced during the Parliament's winter session and progress on the economic steps taken so far

Nirmala Sitharaman
Nirmala Sitharaman

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on December 13 said there seems to be a buzz everywhere other than in her office over a likely increase in goods and services tax (GST) rates.

The ministry is yet to have any discussions with the GST Council on rates. So all there is as of now is only 'speculation churning', she said while addressing a press conference detailing measures introduced during the Parliament's winter session and progress on the economic steps taken so far.

On widespread concerns over economic growth, she said the government prefers to not engage in 'predictions' on the state of the economy but is prepared to intervene when needed.

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"Not engaging in any predictions on economic growth, (we are) here to intervene in the economy when needed," the finance minister stated.

The finance minister also responded to a question on sky-rocketing onion prices: "We have a group of ministers meeting which is reviewing the situation, and is deciding on how to take up the import-related issues."

"I think gradually, the crop has also started replenishing. The government is doing its best to import the commodity and resolve the issue," she added.

When asked about the possibility of moving an Ordinance to pass the amendments to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) Act, she said that the government has been 'quick-footed in response to developing cases.'

"We hope to have the amendments passed and have introduced it in the Lok Sabha," she said.

Chief Economic Advisor, Krishnamurthy V Subramanian gave out details of the measures taken so far to bolster consumption and investment.

"The government has focused on clearing all past dues of PSUs, enabling retail credit by supporting NBFCs and HFCs and supporting MSMEs by bill discounting," he said.

Adding that there is a change on emphasis on disinvestment to enhance the efficiency of the economy, Subramanian said all of the measures have used transparent due diligence.

Ajay Bhushan Pandey, Revenue Secretary spoke about the Income Tax refunds for FY20, which is at Rs 1.57 lakh crore as compared to Rs 1.23 lakh crore in FY19. He said integrated goods and services tax (IGST) refunds for FY20 so far stand at Rs 38,988 crore as compared to Rs 56,057 crore last FY.

Pandey said the tax collection data for this quarter and estimates of the collections for the next quarter will be received on December 15 or December 16.
First Published on Dec 13, 2019 05:35 pm
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