Interim budget 2024-25 a sensible budget and stayed within norms, ITAT Vice President GS Pannu

The Interim Budget 2024-25 has been a sensible budget with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman sticking to established norms for vote on account ahead of general elections later this year, Income Tax Appellate Tribunal Vice President GS Pannu said on Friday.

Addressing a symposium on the Budget and Direct Taxes, Pannu said the budget's focus on lowering the fiscal deficit has not come at the cost of lowering capital outlay. In conversation with APN News Editor-in-Chief Rajshri Rai, Pannu said the budget has been keen to focus on continuity. Big ticket announcements can be expected after the elections in the regular budget, he said.  

He said the decision to drop litigation over tax demand notices of Rs 25,000 for assessment year 2009 and Rs 10,000 for 2010 will lower headaches for many taxpayers caught in such litigation.

On a question on the use of Artificial Intelligence, Pannu said AI brings greater integrity to the system and enables keeping a check on malpractices. This has helped in GST collection, he noted. The sooner we use AI the better in such fields. He noted that direct tax collection has gone up three times in the last 10  years and the number of tax return fillers has also gone up by 2.4 times.

The budget's focus on sustainable development was also underlined by Pannu. The focus on solarisation, wind energy and electric vehicles has shown the budget to be a forward looking one, towards a Viksit Bharat as explained by PM Narendra Modi, Pannu said.

The continuity in the budget has pointed to investors that India is serious about business, he said, adding FDI proposals have come in far greater numbers in the last six years compared to earlier.

On the Income Tax Appellate Authority, Pannu said the pendency of cases has come down and such quick hearings give greater confidence to investors on the process. The ITAT's jurisprudence has improved and control on malpractices have increased, he said.

Asked on the claims by some states that they don't get allocations compared to the tax revenue generated, Pannu said states get their allocations as per laid down principles and it can't be so far off from the norms.