New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday stated that government resources are going to expand, owing in large to the formalization of the economy through a number of government initiatives.
In Pic: Arun Jaitley
Addressing the 29th Accountants General Conference, organised by the Office of Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), Jaitley said, "Government resources in this country are going to expand, and they are going to expand at a much faster pace. There is no question of them being static or narrowing down. The reasons for this are clear - the economy is increasingly becoming formalised."
The Union Finance Minister said that the formalization of the economy "has been accelerated by a large number of recent steps that we took," adding that various factors including, strict compliance, rationalisation of tax structures, lowering the lowest slab, etc, have contributed towards a 15 - 20 per cent increase in tax collection every year.
"Four years ago when we assumed office, the figure that used to bite our minds used to be that the total number of people who file their tax returns in India was 3.8 crores, it is already 6.86 last year, in four years. In five years, I do hope it's close to 7.6 or 7.5, which mean in five years we would have doubled the number of people filing their tax returns," Jaitley said. Highlighting the importance of the functioning of the CAG, Jaitley said, "Government resources are sacrosanct, they are to be spent in public interest there is no futility of government resources possible, there is no leakage which will be permitted, and any diversion for extraneous factors can never be tolerated."
Jaitley further stated that once government resources are spent, the CAG reviews each transaction, with the purpose of "serving as a deterrent on decision-makers" as there is a possibility that every decision they take will be examined by somebody, adding that this is why reports of CAG have acquired great amount of credibility in the past.
The Finance Minister said that government officers have been impacted by this accountability in the system, adding that government officials, while taking a decision, always keep in mind the fact that they have to be accountable for the same. Also Read: Don't have mandate to grant special status: Finance commission