India’s fiscal first half direct tax collections surged 15.8% on-year to Rs 3.86 lakh crore, the government said on Wednesday, rekindling hope that the economy might be headed for a rebound after the twin effects of demonetisation and GST. The gross direct tax collection for the April-September period at Rs 4.66 lakh crore was up 10.3% on-year, the government data showed.Advance tax receipts also swelled, with the total advance tax mop-up in April-September rising 11.5% on-year to Rs 1.77 lakh crore. While corporate advance tax collections rose 8.1% on-year during the period, the advance income tax collections saw a 30.1% on-year spike.The government estimates to collect Rs 9.80 lakh crore from direct taxes in the current fiscal. According to the government data for fiscal, till 30 June 2017, 1.26 crore new taxpayers were added to the tax base.The net direct tax collection in the first half of FY18 witnessed a jump of nearly 7% as compared to the same period last fiscal. The net direct tax collection in the first half of FY17 grew nearly 9% at 3.27 lakh crore.The government last month tasked the Income Tax Department to add 1.25 crore new return filers in the current financial year as part of the plan to widen the tax base in the country. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), that makes policy decisions for the I-T department, has directed the taxman to undertake focused efforts to significantly increase the tax base in the current financial year of 2017-18, PTI reported. Between April 1 and August 5 this year, 2.79 crore e-returns of Individual taxpayers were received as against 2.23 crore e-returns received during the same period last year.As many as 33 lakh new taxpayers have been added to the tax net post demonetisation, the Rajya Sabha was informed in August. However the number of taxpayers added is less than the number of taxpayers added between the financial years 2014-15 and 2015-16, when 40 lakh extra returns were filed, the government data showed.“The number of income taxpayers has increased after demonetisation. During the period of November 9, 2016 to March 31, 2017, 1.96 crore returns were filed as compared to 1.63 crore returns filed during corresponding period of FY 2015-16 and 1.23 crore returns filed during corresponding period of FY 2014-15,” Minister of State for Finance Santosh Gangwar had informed Rajya Sabha in a written reply.