This tax revenue growth will be fuelled by the implementation of the Goods and Services (GST) Tax system as well as the November 8 demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes, the Minister for Road Transport and Highways said at the inaugural session of the 'India Integrated Transport and Logistics Summit' here.
"When our government was formed in May 2014, we had a total (tax) revenue of Rs 13 lakh crore. Over the last three years, it has increased to Rs 20 lakh crore." "After the note-ban and the GST, the revenue will increase to more than Rs 28 lakh crore, and may even touch Rs 30 lakh crore," the Minister added.
These figures may be a bit optimistic, as Finance Ministry officials have said that the increase in total tax revenue collections in the first year of GST implementation is likely to be lower. As against 12 percent growth projected in the 2017-18 Union Budget (at Rs 19.12 lakh crore), the actual growth is likely to be between 8 and 9 percent, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia had told IANS.
That means, the expectation of Rs 30 lakh crore would be pushed a few years further than what the minister said. Gadkari said more revenue would mean a bigger Budget and more expenditure on infrastructure, including logistics sector. The Minister said that from the present gross domestic product of around 7.5 percent, India needed to achieve double-digit growth figures. He said one of the major impediments to such growth was India's high logistics cost.
"If our economy is to flourish, and if we want to ensure sustainable and balanced growth in the country, we urgently need to reduce our logistics cost to globally comparable rates," he said. Logistics costs in India are currently at a high level of 13 to 14 percent of the GDP, and sometimes even cross 15 percent, compared with around seven to eight percent in globally competitive economies.
Gadkari said the government's basic mission was to reduce poverty in the country and developing logistics could go a long way to achieve that. Due to the shortage of warehouses, large quantities of agricultural produce is ruined every year which leads to huge losses to farmers, he said. "We need an integrated approach to develop logistic infrastructure over the next few years to ensure sustainable lives for people living in rural areas," Gadkari said.
He said with the central government giving the highest priority to infrastructure, it would not only make lives easier for the farmers, but would also generate employment and lead to "balanced" development. "But this needs cooperation, coordination and communication between various stakeholders, including the railways, waterways and highways as well as other sectors including skill development," Gadkari added.