The Issue of GDP Growth: Who is telling the truth, Modi or Jaitley?

Some interesting stats from the Income Tax data released yesterday. Very clearly, on the issue of GDP growth – either Modi Ji or Jaitley Ji – only one of them is telling the truth. Read it yourself.

  • The total tax collection increased 10.76 times, from Rs.69018 crores in 2001-02 to 742295 in 2016-17.
  • Maharashtra, the corporate hub contributes 40% of the total taxes.
  • Punjab, the land of prosperity, contributes just about 1% of total tax collections – Blame that on the land of Badals and Agricultural Income.
  • The contribution of direct taxes to total revenue increased from 36% to 51% in the last 15 years.
  • Strangely, the direct taxes to GDP ratio is volatile. From 3.25% in 2001, it increased to 6.3% in 2008 and currently fallen to 5.4%.

If these are the GDP growth rates according to the revenue department, who is telling the truth? Modi or Jaitley?

income tax data
A snap of Income Tax data revealed by Tax Department, showing GDP growth. Credits

It’s for the first time in country’s history, central government publicly released a good amount of Income Tax data for 16 years. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi called this “A Big Transparency Step” as the data was unloaded online at Tax department’s website.

One of the senior officials told us that “A total of 84 page data has been released and put in the public domain for the first time. A number of economists and researchers had demanded that such data should be made available publicly and hence it has been uploaded on the official web portal of the department.”

The other key findings in the big data released by IT department are:

  • The total number of individuals who paid taxes grew to 5 crore in 2014 from 4 crore in 2011.
  • There’s a decline in total taxes collection from 18% in 2010 to 6.7% in 2015, department revealed.

The government aims to encourage the deep analysis and mining of Income Tax data by academicians and Tax officers that can be used for improving the tax policies in the near future.

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