Chennai: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday said direct tax collections have shown a robust 26.43 per cent growth in the first quarter and the momentum is expected to be sustained throughout this financial year.

Mukherjee was chairing a combined review meeting with senior officers of Income Tax and Customs and Central Exercise Departments in the Tamil Nadu region here on Friday.

Appreciating the progress made in collection of direct and indirect taxes this fiscal so far, Mukherjee told the officers to lay greater emphasis on tax recovery.

In indirect taxes, the first three months of this fiscal have witnessed 27.6 per cent growth in customs, 33 per cent in Central Excise and 33.5 per cent in Service Tax, according to a government press release.

"Any reduction in customs duty collection due to customs duty cut is likely to be neutralised by robust growth in service tax," said the release.

It quoted Mukherjee as saying that while all measures for recovery must be made to achieve targets for budget collection fixed for the current fiscal, officers of both Boards should aim to collect 10 per cent more revenue from the region over and above the budgeted target.

Besides, it said the Income Tax department had issued over 2,65,000 refunds during this period.

The meeting was attended by Minister for State for Finance S S Palanimanickam, Minister of State for Personnel V Narayanasamy, Revenue Secretary R S Gujral, CBDT Chairman Prakash Chandra and CBEC Chairman S Dutt Majumdar.