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Updated: June 20, 2014 22:31 IST

Widen tax net to push growth: World Bank

PTI
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Projects 5.5 per cent growth for current fiscal

Ahead of the Modi-government’s first budget, the World Bank, on Friday, suggested that India should roll out the Goods and Services Tax (GST), reduce subsidies, and broaden tax base to promote growth, projecting it to be lower at 5.5 per cent for 2014-15, from the earlier forecast of 5.7 per cent.

“Implementing the Goods and Services Tax (regime), targeting subsidies better, and broadening the tax base will help create the fiscal space for supporting accelerated growth and poverty reduction,” said Onno Ruhl, World Bank’s Country Director-India.

He was speaking at a function here to release the World Bank’s report on Global Economic Prospects (GEP) 2014. Lead author of the report Andrew Burns, too, was present at the launch of the report in India.

The report, which was released globally earlier, has scaled down economic growth projection for the current financial year to 5.5 per cent from 5.7 per cent estimated in April.

“The growth in India is projected at 5.5 per cent in 2014-15, accelerating to 6.3 per cent in 2015-16 and 6.6 per cent in 2016-17,” the GEP 2014 report says.

Mr. Ruhl said: “With a rising global demand, we expect that a rebound in domestic investments and a pick-up in manufacturing activities will help India move from two years of sub-5 per cent growth to over 6 per cent in the next year.”

However, he added, fiscal reforms such as simplifying the tax structure and broadening tax base would be essential for creating space for pro-poor expenditure and accelerating growth in years ahead.

“India’s general government deficit, despite falling, is still more than 2 per cent points of GDP higher than in 2007, indicating that depleted fiscal buffers have yet fully restored,” the report said.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is expected to present the first budget of the Narendra Modi government for 2014-15 next month. The major challenge before the government will be to boost growth while keeping the fiscal deficit under check.

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