SRINAGAR, Sep 11: Finance Minister, Dr Haseeb Drabu has asked the officials to shift towards a simpler taxation process which shall reduce inconvenience faced by traders and also increase the tax base.
The Minister was speaking at a review meeting with regard to computerization project being implemented by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Price water house Coopers (PwC). The IT preparedness of the State for implementing Goods and Service Tax (GST) was also reviewed in the meeting.
The Minister ordered upgradation of hardware at check posts particularly at Lakhanpur in order to reduce clearance time for passing vehicles. “Devise a mechanism wherein vehicles shall pay their dues in advance and at Lakhanpur Toll Post they shall be allowed to pass unhindered after being identified by the scanners, so that the process involves minimal human interference.” said Dr Drabu and added that it shall reduce chances of corruption and will also help increase service effectiveness at the toll post.
The Minister said that government is exploring newer ways to privatise the vital check-post at Lakhanpur. “If tomorrow somebody approaches us with a proposal of Rs 800 crore which is worth its total revenue, we will have no objection in handing over it to them for a period of one year. It will increase the efficiency of the system and free the resources of the department. The department can then invest its energy in other things like mobile check posts and other regulatory work,” the Minister said.
The Minister was informed that the department is moving towards General Sales Tax (GST) process for which preparation is in full swing.
On the occasion a presentation was made on JKVAT IT project implemented by TCS at a cost of Rs 17.85 crore. PWC is acting as a consultant on the project. The Minister was informed that the department has established a database centre at Jammu and most of the taxation process is being done online. “We are receiving 770614 hits on our website and 12541 dealers have signed up on the CTD portal,” the concerned officers informed the Minister. The department has also connected 13 critical locations with its own Wide Area Network.
It was also informed during the meeting that the state has around 8000 dealers with turnover of Rs 1 crore and 4000 dealers with turnover ranging between Rs 50 lakh and Rs one crore.
The Minister asked the department to focus on high end dealers and let the low end dealers grow freely. “If 80 percent of government revenue comes from around 12000 dealers, let us focus on them and if everything goes well we could consider waiving off the tax for rest of the 60000 dealers,” said Dr Drabu and added “our motto should be to maximize revenue with minimization of spread. For high end dealers we can introduce simpler process, less paperwork, transparency and ease of filing returns.”
The Minister also asked the department to involve 1100 Khidmat centres for filing of tax returns. “Turn the Khidmat centres into e-kiosks for filing of returns. These centres have young entrepreneurs willing to learn. Train them and they will become 1100 extension counters of the department,” the Minister said.
The Minister stressed on the department to improve on hardware, technology competence and data analytics.
The meeting was attended by Commissioner Secretary Finance Mr Naveen Choudhary, Commissioner, Commercial Tax Department Baseer Ahmad Khan, representatives of Price waterhouse Coopers, TCS and other officers of the finance department.