For the first time, the Centre’s net direct tax collections have crossed the Rs 3-lakh crore mark.
To grasp the significance of this milestone, one needs to go back only 15 years or so. In 1990-91, the Centre’s net direct tax collections were about Rs 11,000 crore, which was only about one-fifth of the Centre’s entire tax kitty.
This year (2007-08) was a fiscal landmark for another reason too — the net direct taxes collections account for over 50 per cent of the Centre’s revenue.
Official sources said that the net direct tax collections had crossed the Rs 3-lakh crore mark on March 29. The revised estimate of about Rs 3,04,760 crore is likely to be achieved by March 31, sources added.
The direct taxes had recorded over 40 per cent growth in fiscal 2007-08. As against the Budget estimate of Rs 2,67,490 crore, the direct collections have crossed Rs 3,00,000 crore, reflecting the sheer buoyancy in such taxes (corporate taxes and personal taxes).
Shift to direct tax
There has clearly been a shift away from indirect taxes to the direct taxes all through the post reforms period. This is seen as progressive on two counts. Firstly, by taxing earnings of individuals and corporates rather than production and trade, there is less stifling of economic activity and employment generation. Secondly, while the poor and rich pay taxes alike on goods, taxes on income and profits have a relatively egalitarian character.
Corporate taxes have since 2006-07 emerged as the single largest source of taxation for the Central Government.