As government looks at ways to analyze huge amounts data available on corporate as well as individuals to increase tax collections by studying various parameters like spending patterns, IT companies expect strong growth in Big Data and Analytics business in the coming years.
“Government is planning to use analytics to increase its revenue base,” Infosys vice president and India business head Raghu Cavale told PTI.
He said the country’s tax-payer base is just about 3 crore and the number has been inching its way slowly for the last 5-10 years, which the government would like to see growing at a faster pace.
“The economy has been been expanding, which essentially means that the number of people coming in the tax rate should be more. But it is not so,” Cavale added.
Big Data and Analytics businesses of IT firms aim at storing, sorting and analyzing vast amounts of data across various fields — finance, marketing, healthcare, utilities, climate and transaction records.
According to government data, the total tax payers in the country stood at about 3.24 crore during the 2011-12 fiscal.
“As a nation, we can put together all the data. If you travel abroad, buy expensive jewellery, we can check your digital footprints on online shopping and piece together a person’s lifestyle and through that create a taxable database,” Cavale said.
Citing an example, he said the government in Italy follows people’s lifestyle, travel and spending pattern so as to track those who could be evading taxes.
“So can we use this data analytics to expand out taxable database. Our total direct taxes are only 9% of our GDP, whereas it should be about 18%, and you cannot raise it by taxing people who you have already taxed. You are going to use analytics,” he added.
On government’s use of IT for collecting and utilizing income tax information, Cavale said: “We are discussing with the government many projects. Some have already been tendered, which we have won. Some other people are doing it. Government is very well aware of data warehousing and analytics. It is talking to us as well as other firms.”
The Finance Ministry had collected Rs 4.73 lakh crore in indirect taxes during 2012-13. For the current fiscal, it has fixed the target of collecting Rs 5.65 lakh crore in indirect taxes, comprising customs, excise and service tax. The total collection of indirect taxes stood at about Rs 2,28,550 crore during the first six months of 2013-14.