FM says “losing sleep” over rising subsidy bill

The government had earlier said that its subsidy bill is likely to increase by over Rs1 lakh crore, over and above the original estimate of Rs1.34 lakh crore, mainly on account of higher outlay towards fertiliser, food and oil

New Delhi: Faced with subdued revenue mop-up and rising fiscal deficit, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday said he is “losing sleep” over mounting subsidy bill, which may cross Budget estimate by Rs1 lakh crore in 2011-12, reports PTI.

“As finance minister when I think of enormity of the subsidies to be provided, I lose my sleep. There is no doubt,” said Mr Mukherjee, who is engaged in the process of firming the Budget for 2012-13 to be tabled in the Lok Sabha on 16th March.

The government had earlier said that its subsidy bill is likely to increase by over Rs1 lakh crore, over and above the original estimate of Rs1.34 lakh crore, mainly on account of higher outlay towards fertiliser, food and oil.

In view of the moderate growth in revenue collection and poor receipts from disinvestment on one hand and the rising subsidy on the other, the finance minister will have a tough time in balancing the budget figures.

The fiscal deficit, which he had proposed to bring down from 4.7% to 4.6% of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2011-12, is expected to in the range of 5.6%.

Latest tax figures released suggest that government has collected Rs6.63 lakh crore up till January and will not be able to achieve the Rs9.32 lakh crore target for the fiscal.

Meanwhile, CBDT chairman Laxman Das has written to top Income Tax officials to take up the ‘challenge’ of filling the deficit.

“At this critical juncture, our task as revenue administrators becomes that much more challenging. As senior officers, we have to play a critical role in making all possible efforts to improve the situation. We have to ensure every CC/DG achieves the budget target,” Mr Das told his chief commissioners and commissioners.

The finance ministry said in a statement that at the present rate of growth, the Central Board of Excise and Customs, responsible for collecting indirect taxes,”"should be able to achieve the target of Rs3,92,908 crore”.

While the net direct tax collection during April-January was Rs3.46 lakh crore, the realisation from indirect taxes was Rs3.17 lakh crore. With less than two months left in the current fiscal, government has a formidable task to collect Rs2.69 lakh crore.

Mr Mukherjee had said last week that he is exerting pressure on revenue officials to improve tax realisation to meet the total tax collection target.

“I am putting pressure on my colleagues in the CBEC, CBDT ...and on my behalf secretary (revenue) is continuously breathing (down) their neck to improve revenue because our demand and requirement is much more,” he had said.

The lower economic growth of 6.9% projected for 2011-12, as against the original estimate of 9%, will further aggravate the fiscal deficit situation. The economy grew by 8.4% in 2010-11.

Besides, the government has managed to raise only about Rs1,145 crore from disinvestment against the target of Rs40,000 crore this fiscal.

Although the government has been trying to raise funds through alternative routes, including buyback from sale of its equities in PSUs, it is unlikely that any major amount will accrue to the exchequer.

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COMMENTS

P M Ravindran

5 years ago

Liar! Or may be what he gives to corporates are not called subsidies but bailouts! And will he please tell us what is the cost of these bail outs to the exchequer? Or is it not bail outs even? May be total helplessness in getting the dues from these criminals in corporate world? Or may be even conniving with them to stash funds in numbered accounts abroad!

CBI moves SC for clarification of earlier orders in 2G case

The CBI approached the apex court after being asked by the Delhi High Court which had also directed Essar and Loop to seek a clarification on the issue

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) moved the Supreme Court on Wednesday for seeking a clarification whether the special court can conduct a trial of companies which are not charged under the Prevention of Corruption Act in the case arising out of the probe in the second generation (2G) spectrum scam case, reports PTI.

The probe agency approached the apex court after being asked by the Delhi High Court which had also directed Essar and Loop to seek a clarification on the issue.

The high court’s direction has come after a brief hearing on the petitions of Essar Teleholdings and Loop Telecom that the case against them, arising out of the 2G scam, be taken out of the court of the special judge to a magistrate’s court as there were no corruption charges against them.

The high court had said the apex court’s directions setting up a special court for trial of the 2G case and no judicial fora, except it, would entertain any plea in the matter were coming in its way from hearing the petitions of telecom firms.

Besides the two companies, the other accused named in the third charge-sheet in the 2G case are telecom firm Loop Mobile India, Essar group promoters Anshuman and Ravi Ruia along with Loop Telecom promoters Kiran Khaitan, her husband IP Khaitan and Essar Group director (strategy and planning) Vikash Saraf.

The charge-sheet has been filed under section 420 (cheating) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and the accusations against the firms are triable by a magistrate and not by the special court constituted under the PC Act for hearing the 2G case, Essar, in its petition, said.

Essar and Loop had moved the HC seeking a stay on the administrative order of the registrar of the high court which had ordered constitution of the special court.

On 2nd February the Supreme Court quashed all 122 spectrum licences granted during the tenure of former communications minister A Raja.

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SEBI asks firms to disclose details of utilisation of warrants

“In order to enhance disclosure requirements, listed entities have been mandated to disclose utilisation of funds raised upon conversion/exercise of warrants issued along with public or rights issue of specified securities,” SEBI said in a circular

Mumbai: In order to bring more transparency to capital markets, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on Wednesday said listed firms will have to disclose details regarding utilisation of funds raised through warrants, reports PTI.

“In order to enhance disclosure requirements, listed entities have been mandated to disclose utilisation of funds raised upon conversion/exercise of warrants issued along with public or rights issue of specified securities,” SEBI said in a circular.

It said the new rule, a part of its amendments to the equity listing agreement, will take effect immediately.

Experts said the amendment will bring more confidence and transparency in the instrument of warrants.

A warrant is the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell a certain quantity of an underlying instrument at an agreed-upon price.

“The SEBI circular has directed that companies disclose details regarding the usage of funds raised through warrants.

The regulator is trying to monitor the reason for which companies raise the warrants and ensure that they are used for proper reason.

“This will elevate the credibility of the instrument,” SMC Global Securities strategist and head of research Jagannadham Thunuguntla said.

The regulator had in the last few days brought a number of changes in its listing norms.

Earlier this month, it notified the Institutional Placement Programme (IPP) guidelines that will allow companies to reduce promoter shareholding through private placement.

As per the new norms for IPP of shares, the companies would even be allowed to issue fresh equity to institutional investors to dilute stake of promoters.

It also permitted promoters of top 100 companies to quickly dilute their shares through a separate window on the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange which has to be completed within a day.

Besides, on Tuesday SEBI modified norms for share buyback through the tender offer route under which companies will have to reserve 15% of the offer for small shareholders.

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