However, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee cautioned that in the event of a slowdown in economic growth, revenue collections may get impacted
New Delhi: Amid apprehensions of slowdown impacting tax collection, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Friday exuded confidence that the government would be able to meet the revenue targets set in the budget for 2011-12, reports PTI.
"The growth of revenues up to June is reasonably satisfactory. Therefore, I do not apprehend that there will be any slippage," Mr Mukherjee told reporters to a query related to revenue collections.
He was talking after meeting chief executive officers of public sector banks and other financial institutions.
The finance minister said government set targets assuming normal conditions.
However, he added, "There may be (slowdown in revenue collections) if there is a slow (economic) growth, if there are unprecedented happenings and events."
The Centre expects to collect over Rs9.32 lakh crore tax revenues this fiscal, about 24.98% up from the previous year.
However, there are apprehensions that revenue collection, both on direct and indirect fronts, could be impacted due to high global commodity prices and high inflation.
Net direct tax collections in the first quarter dropped by almost 17% to Rs57,268 crore year-on-year.
Besides, the government would be losing about Rs49,000 crore on account of cut in customs and excise duty on petroleum products.
In the Budget speech, Mr Mukherjee had pegged the economic growth for the current fiscal at around 9% but two-months later the RBI came out with a lower projection of about 8% gross domestic product (GDP) growth.
The central bank has hiked key policy rates 10 times since March 2010. The high interest rate regime has impacted the country's industrial growth rate, which shrunk by more than half to 6.3% in April.
This innovative plan offers the option of increase in sum assured every year by 5% or 10% without increase in the premium, but the annual premium is high. Does your term plan need to increase the sum assured every year?
Birla Sun Life Insurance Company has launched new term plan offerings-Protector and Protector Plus. These plans offer flexibility to customers, giving them the option to increase the sum assured over a period rising out of increasing responsibilities and inflation, at no extra premium.
Both plans allow customers to opt for a constant or increasing sum assured at inception. Customers, who opt for an increase in the sum assured, have the option to increase it by 5% or 10% every year, in order to factor in growing needs and responsibilities. Under this facility, on every policy anniversary, the sum assured increases by 5% or 10%.
Mayank Bathwal, chief financial officer and head-institutional sales, says, "Over time, an individual's responsibilities grow and this, coupled with lifestyle improvements, makes one realise the need for increased protection. To ensure that one's loved ones continue to enjoy the same comforts, even under unforeseen circumstances, there was a need for a plan that could keep pace with changing requirements."
Does your term plan really need to increase the sum assured every year? The insurance needs increase together with the number of dependants and inflation, but your income level and savings also increase. The need to provide a cushion for dependants should decrease under normal circumstances, with financial commitments like children's education reducing near retirement. So, with age, given a normal earning cycle, the need for life insurance should decline and, at some point, it should be zero. If not, then you have not planned your retirement. One approach would be to go for additional term plan when your insurance need increases and terminate the policy close to retirement when your insurance need decreases.
As seen above, if the customer opts for 10% increasing sum assured every year, the premium is double for a policy term of 20 years or more. The company will charge the additional premium every year, to be able to afford a 10% annual increase in the sum assured.
The new e-ticketing service of the Indian Railways will not involve travel agents and commercial organisations. However, there is no information about how the quotas are to be allocated for various trains
The Indian Railways is all set to roll out a new e-ticketing service that will apparently not be open to travel agents, but will be reserved only for individual users.
The move comes after widespread discontent over malpractices by agents and touts who manipulated the system to hog a majority of the tickets available, even from quotas and the 'tatkal' facility, leaving individuals ticketless.
In March, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), which operated the online booking system, blocked over 4.5 lakh user IDs, most of them agents, who were found to be violating the rules.
However, questions are being raised whether operating the ticket booking system from a new portal will resolve the contentious issue of quotas on different trains.
"Unlike the e-ticketing service of the IRCTC, the new service by Indian Railways will have no role for travel agents and commercial organisations. Only individual users will be allowed to book on the portal," a railways official said.
The new service will be available on www.indianrailways.gov.in, which will be launched after necessary clearance for the payment gateway. The facility will be available on a fixed time basis from 12.30am to 11.30pm.
Moneylife has consistently maintained that the tatkal facility has been exploited by agents, with the tickets vanishing within minutes of the reservations opening. Thus, individuals, unable to get tickets have had to depend on agents who charge a substantial commission.
Following these complaints, the railways decided to bar travel agents from booking tatkal tickets on the IRCTC portal during peak hours.
Indian Railways transacts over 9.5 lakh bookings across the country daily, about a third of these through the IRCTC portal. About eight lakh agents are registered under the IRCTC.
Under the new e-ticketing service, individuals will have to register while using the facility for the first time. Registration is free of charge. A maximum of eight transactions will be allowed monthly to each user ID, the official said. Service charges will be Rs5 per ticket for sleeper class and Rs10 per ticket for all other classes. Currently, IRCTC charges Rs10 per ticket for sleeper class and Rs20 per ticket for all other classes.
Besides reducing the load on the IRCTC website, the railways is also considering using the mobile platform for ticket booking.
But there are many questions about the new system that are still not answered. For example, there is no clarity on the tatkal quota, or the logic of allocating so many seats under this category. Many a time, passengers are surprised to find more seats available under tatkal than the regular category. A Moneylife reader pointed out that on 15 April 2011 there were 216 seats allotted under the tatkal quota, while there was a waiting list of 274 passengers under the general quota for the Pune-Lucknow Express.
Surprisingly, no one, not even railway officials, can explain the rationale for the quota system. A different number of seats is allocated for each category on different trains. The question is why cannot this be synchronised. For example, a uniform 10% seats can be allocated for the tatkal quota, 80% for the general quota and the rest for other quotas.
A few months ago, Rajaram Bojji, former managing director of the Konkan Railway, said this about the tatkal mess: "Those in the railways must have found an indirect route to realise higher revenues without increasing the fares over the last seven years, simply by increasing the quota under tatkal. Reasonable I feel, because the fares of passenger tickets were kept the same with a proud announcement by each political master."