Size of tax rebates is large as compared to spending by agricultural & rural development ministries

Size of tax rebates is large as compared to spending by agricultural & rural development ministries


Believe it or not, the total revenue foregone in 2017-18 on account of special tax rates, exemptions, deductions, rebates, deferrals and credits -- broadly termed as 'tax expenditures' (an indirect subsidy) – that was given to corporate taxpayers has been more than 50 percent of the expenditure incurred by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare (MoAFW) and the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) altogether in that year.

In other words, the size of tax concessions and tax breaks, which the corporate sector enjoys, is quite large vis-à-vis the expenditure made by the agricultural and rural development ministries altogether.  

The total revenue foregone (due to tax incentives to corporate taxpayers) as a proportion of total expenditure of the MoAFW and MoRD stands at around 88.7 percent in 2012-13, 76.1 in 2015-16, 67.4 percent in 2016-17 and 58.1 percent in 2017-18. It means that the tax incentives provided to the corporate sector could have been utilized to finance 88.7 percent of the expenses of MoAFW and MoRD altogether in 2012-13, 76.1 percent in 2015-16, 67.4 percent in 2016-17 and 58.1 percent in 2017-18. Please check table-1.
 
The value of revenue foregone (owing to tax incentives & rebates to corporate taxpayers) was Rs. 68,720.0 crore in 2012-13, Rs. 76,857.7 crore in 2015-16, Rs. 86,144.82 crore in 2016-17 and Rs. 85,026.11 crore in 2017-18. Therefore, one can notice that in terms of absolute numbers, the value of revenue foregone (owing to tax incentives to the corporate sector) has more or less grown over the years.

Table 1: Total Revenue Foregone due to Tax Incentives to Corporate Tax Payers and Expenditure of Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare and Ministry of Rural Development -- Net of receipts and recoveries (in Rs. crore)
 
Table 1

Source: Expenditure by various departments of MoAFW and MoRD has been taken from Expenditure Budget, Volume-2, from 2013-14 to 2018-19, www.indiabudget.gov.in  

Statement of Revenue Impact of Tax Incentives under the Central Tax System: Financial Years 2016-17 and 2017-18, Annex-7, Union Budget 2018-19, please click here to access

Statement of Revenue Impact of Tax Incentives under the Central Tax System: Financial Years 2015-16 and 2016-17, Annex-13, Union Budget 2017-18, please click here to access   

Statement of Revenue Impact of Tax Incentives under the Central Tax System: Financial Years 2014-15 and 2015-16, Annex-15, Union Budget 2016-17, please click here to access

Statement of Revenue Impact of Tax Incentives under the Central Tax System: Financial Years 2013-14 and 2014-15, Union Budget 2015-16, please click here to access

Revenue Foregone under the Central Tax System: Financial Years 2012-13 and 2013-14, Union Budget 2014-15, please click here to access

Revenue Foregone under the Central Tax System: Financial Years 2011-12 and 2012-13, Union Budget 2013-14,  please click here to access

Note: 'RE' means Revised Estimate of Union budget
 
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The adjusted figures of 2016-17 and 2017-18 for the two ministries (jointly) have been derived by deducting the allocation against the head 'interest subsidy for short term credit to farmers' from the entire expenditure incurred by the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (under the MoAFW). In order to get an idea, please consult the news alert entitled Hard reality and political compulsions may force a rural-focused budget (please click here to access)

Tax Incentives to various sections

The total tax revenue foregone as a result of tax concessions and tax breaks given to corporate taxpayers, non-corporate taxpayers [Firms/ Association of Persons (AOPs)/ Body of Individuals (BOIs)], individual/ Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) taxpayers and tax breaks and rebates on customs duty and central excise duty actually exceeds the total expenditure incurred by the MoAFW and MoRD by a huge margin.

For example, from table-1 one gets that the total expenditure of MoAFW and MoRD was Rs. 1,46,388.08 crore in the financial year 2017-18. However, in the same year the total revenue impact of tax incentives is estimated to be Rs. 2,03,983.74 crore. Please consult table-2.

Table 2: Revenue Impact of Tax Incentives under the Central Tax System (in Rs. crore)
 
Table 2

Source:

GDP data (new series, current prices) from 2011-12 to 2016-17 has been taken from the Press Note on Provisional Estimates of Annual National Income 2016-17 and Quarterly Estimates of Gross Domestic Product for the Fourth Quarter (Q4) of 2016-17, released on 31st May, 2017, Central Statistics Office (CSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), please click here to access

GDP data (new series, current prices) for 2017-18 (R.E.) has been taken from Budget at a Glance 2018-19, please click here to access


Data on total expenditure of the Central government has been taken from Budget at a Glance section of the Budget Documents since the year 2013-14, please click here, here, here, here here and here to access

Statement of Revenue Impact of Tax Incentives under the Central Tax System: Financial Years 2016-17 and 2017-18, Annex-7, Union Budget 2018-19, please click here to access

Statement of Revenue Impact of Tax Incentives under the Central Tax System: Financial Years 2015-16 and 2016-17, Annex-13, Union Budget 2017-18, please click here to access   

Statement of Revenue Impact of Tax Incentives under the Central Tax System: Financial Years 2014-15 and 2015-16, Annex-15, Union Budget 2016-17, please click here to access

Statement of Revenue Impact of Tax Incentives under the Central Tax System: Financial Years 2013-14 and 2014-15, Union Budget 2015-16, please click here to access

Revenue Foregone under the Central Tax System: Financial Years 2012-13 and 2013-14, Union Budget 2014-15, please click here to access

Revenue Foregone under the Central Tax System: Financial Years 2011-12 and 2012-13, Union Budget 2013-14,  please click here to access

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The Statement of Revenue Impact of Tax Incentives under the Central Tax System: Financial Years 2016-17 and 2017-18, which is provided in the Annex-7 of the Receipt Budget 2018-19 clearly says that "(t)he tax policy provides specific tax incentives which give rise to tax preferences. Such preferences have a definite revenue impact and can also be viewed as an indirect subsidy to preferred tax payers, also referred to as 'tax expenditures' ”.

From the table-2, it can be inferred that the share of total revenue forgone in the country’s GDP has declined from 6.1 percent in 2011-12 to 1.2 percent in 2017-18. Similarly, the share of total revenue forgone in the total expenditure of the Central government has reduced from 40.9 percent in 2011-12 to 9.2 percent in 2017-18.
 
Tax rebates and concessions on customs duty and central excise duty together added about four-fifth of the total revenue foregone between 2011-12 and 2014-15, but since 2015-16 their share in total revenue foregone declined. Please check table-2.

It needs to be mentioned here that the 'Statement of Revenue Foregone', which used to be brought out as a separate statement till 2015-16, has been merged in the Receipts Budget from 2016-17 onwards.
 
Item-wise expenditure

If one goes by the expenditure of major items, then according to the Union Budget 2018-19 (please click here to access):

• The expenditure on fertiliser subsidy was raised from Rs. 64,974 crore in 2017-18 (R.E.) to Rs. 70,080 crore in 2018-19 (B.E.). In 2017-18, the expenditure on fertiliser subsidy was less than the total revenue foregone (due to tax incentives to corporate taxpayers).

• The expenditure on food subsidy was enhanced from Rs. 1,40,282 crore in 2017-18 (R.E.) to Rs. 1,69,323 crore in 2018-19 (B.E.). In 2017-18, the expenditure on food subsidy was 1.65 times the total revenue foregone (due to tax incentives to corporate taxpayers).

•The expenditure on agriculture and allied activities was increased from Rs.56,589 crore in 2017-18 (R.E.) to Rs. 63,836 crore in 2018-19 (B.E.). The expenditure on agriculture and allied activities as a proportion of total revenue foregone (due to tax incentives to corporate taxpayers) comes around 66.6 percent in 2017-18. It means that the entire budgetary allocation for agriculture and allied activities could have been financed by the money, which was given as tax incentives to the corporate sector.

•The expenditure on rural development was enhanced from Rs. 1,35,604 crore in 2017-18 (R.E.) to Rs. 1,38,097 crore in 2018-19 (B.E.). In 2017-18, the expenditure on rural development was 1.6 times the total revenue foregone (due to tax incentives to the corporate sector).
 
 
References:

Despite Having A Food Security Legislation, Spending On Food Subsidy Is Low, News alert from Inclusive Media for Change dated 31 January, 2018, please click here to access  

Hard reality and political compulsions may force a rural-focused budget, News alert from Inclusive Media for Change dated 25 January, 2018, please click here to access 

Richest companies have the lowest tax liability -Tina Edwin, The Hindu Business Line, 4 February, 2018, please click here to access 
 
 
Image Courtesy: Himanshu Joshi



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