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Excise reforms plug revenue leakages

By R Dutta Choudhury
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GUWAHATI, June 27 - Assam lost substantial amount of revenue for years because of abnormal delay on the part of the State Government in notifying the rules of Excise reforms. However, on the positive side, Assam�s revenue collection has shot up by more than 21 per cent in the past one year because of the Excise reforms and other efforts made to plug the leakages in revenue collection.

Highly placed official sources told The Assam Tribune that the State�s revenue collection went up by around 21.5 per cent in the past one year and the Excise reforms were one of the main reasons while efforts were made to plug the leakages in revenue collection in other departments, particularly in Transport department. The increase in revenue collection was highest in the past one year as normally the collection goes up by nine to eleven per cent in a year and that is why the Centre has decided that if the revenue collection of the State does not increase by 14 per cent in a year after the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the balance amount would be compensated.

Sources said that the Excise reforms were long overdue. The State Government passed the Bills in the Assembly for carrying out the reforms way back in 2001 and the rules for it were also prepared. But due to unknown reasons, the rules were not notified and that is why the reforms did not take place on the ground, resulting in huge loss of revenue for the State. However, immediately after coming to power, the present government notified the Excise reform rules and some new reforms were also brought, which resulted in substantial increase in revenue collection.

Sources revealed that at least 18 bonded warehouses were functioning all along the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border areas. Majority of the owners of the warehouses showed on paper that they were selling liquor in Arunachal Pradesh. But in reality, they were selling liquor in Assam and in the process, the State was losing substantial amount of revenue. But this practice has stopped after the new reforms were put into place and in fact, most of those warehouses have already been closed down. The government is expecting that the Excise revenue collection in the State would go up further in the days to come.

Of course, there are other major reasons for the increase in collection of revenue. The tax rates on several items were modified after the new government came to power, while the government also received substantial amount of revenue as arrears from entry tax. In a major decision, the government waived the penalty for the overdue amounts of entry tax, which encouraged the dealers to pay up the dues immediately.

Sources said that the process of computerization of the records of the Transport department also helped in plugging the leakages and increased revenue collection, while the ongoing drive against corruption also helped in improving the State�s finances. However, sources admitted that there is ample scope for further improving revenue collection in the days to come.

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Excise reforms plug revenue leakages

GUWAHATI, June 27 - Assam lost substantial amount of revenue for years because of abnormal delay on the part of the State Government in notifying the rules of Excise reforms. However, on the positive side, Assam�s revenue collection has shot up by more than 21 per cent in the past one year because of the Excise reforms and other efforts made to plug the leakages in revenue collection.

Highly placed official sources told The Assam Tribune that the State�s revenue collection went up by around 21.5 per cent in the past one year and the Excise reforms were one of the main reasons while efforts were made to plug the leakages in revenue collection in other departments, particularly in Transport department. The increase in revenue collection was highest in the past one year as normally the collection goes up by nine to eleven per cent in a year and that is why the Centre has decided that if the revenue collection of the State does not increase by 14 per cent in a year after the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the balance amount would be compensated.

Sources said that the Excise reforms were long overdue. The State Government passed the Bills in the Assembly for carrying out the reforms way back in 2001 and the rules for it were also prepared. But due to unknown reasons, the rules were not notified and that is why the reforms did not take place on the ground, resulting in huge loss of revenue for the State. However, immediately after coming to power, the present government notified the Excise reform rules and some new reforms were also brought, which resulted in substantial increase in revenue collection.

Sources revealed that at least 18 bonded warehouses were functioning all along the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border areas. Majority of the owners of the warehouses showed on paper that they were selling liquor in Arunachal Pradesh. But in reality, they were selling liquor in Assam and in the process, the State was losing substantial amount of revenue. But this practice has stopped after the new reforms were put into place and in fact, most of those warehouses have already been closed down. The government is expecting that the Excise revenue collection in the State would go up further in the days to come.

Of course, there are other major reasons for the increase in collection of revenue. The tax rates on several items were modified after the new government came to power, while the government also received substantial amount of revenue as arrears from entry tax. In a major decision, the government waived the penalty for the overdue amounts of entry tax, which encouraged the dealers to pay up the dues immediately.

Sources said that the process of computerization of the records of the Transport department also helped in plugging the leakages and increased revenue collection, while the ongoing drive against corruption also helped in improving the State�s finances. However, sources admitted that there is ample scope for further improving revenue collection in the days to come.