3G auction revenue to reduce fiscal deficit: Pranab

Bangalore, May 29 (IANS) Revenue generated from the auction of third generation (3G) spectrum license would help the government in reducing the fiscal deficit, Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said here late Saturday.

‘The revenue generated by the distribution of 3G spectrum license will reduce the fiscal deficit and provide elbow room to return to the fiscal consolidation path,’ Mukherjee told reporters on the margins of an event here.

The federal government generated by May 19 a whopping Rs.67,719 crore (Rs.677 billion/$14.6 billion) from the month-long auction of the crucial airwaves for 3G telecom services by private operators.

In his budget presentation late February, Mukherjee projected the fiscal deficit for 2010-11 at 5.5 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) as against 6.8 percent (revised estimate) for last fiscal (2009-10).

Fiscal deficit occurs when the government’s total expenditure exceeds the revenue it generates excluding its borrowings.

Noting that efforts should be made to reduce the fiscal deficit as per the recommendations of the 13th Finance Commission, Mukherjee said he would use the funds raised in the best possible manner to ensure fiscal consolidation.

‘The aim will be to reduce the fiscal deficit to 5.5 percent from 6.8 percent last fiscal,’ Mukherjee asserted after unveiling the centralised processing centre (CPC) of the income tax department in this tech hub to enable faster refunds to tax payers.

‘The CPC will help reduce the backlog of processing tax returns and posting refunds to the assesses at the earliest,’ Mukherjee said.

The minister also announced that two more processing centres would be opened at Pune in Maharashtra and Manesar in Haryana.

‘Tax payers can expect faster refunds from the income tax department, as the CPC improves the delivery of citizen-centric services in line with the international practices,’ Mukherjee said, dedicating the centre to the nation.

The state-of-the-art facility will process all electronic tax returns of the country and physical returns of Karnataka and Goa regions.

As a flagship of the central government’s e-governance project, the CPC, located in Electronic City on Hosur Road, is equipped with a dedicated call centre, where tax payers can enquire about the status of their returns and refunds.

‘The centre will also enable the IT department to cope with the rapid growth in the number of tax payers and consequently lower the volume of work handled by its officials,’ Mukherjee noted.

The remote record storage unit at the centre reduces congestion in the IT offices, as tax payers can call 080-4345-6700 to seek information pertaining to filing their returns or seeking refunds.

The other advantages of the CPC are priority processing for e-filed returns, accuracy of data transfer, faster processing of returns, systematic and efficient processes automated printing and mailing services and centralised call centre for grievance resolution.

Revenue Secretary Sunil Mitra and Central Bureau of Direct Taxes Chairman S.S.N. Murthy were also present on the occasion.