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Thursday, February 23, 2012

GST will bring about a Paradigm Shift in the Arena of Indirect Taxation in the Country; asks CBEC to make extra efforts to meet the Targets Of Indirect Tax Collections for the Current Fiscal : FM


 The Union Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee said that with the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST), we are now perhaps at the door-step of the most significant reform in the history of indirect taxes in the country. He said that GST is expected to be a more efficient system of taxation and is likely to give a boost to the tax revenues of the Centre and the States. The Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee said that GST will also remove barriers amongst States and convert the entire country into a common market. Once implemented, GST will bring about a paradigm shift in the arena of indirect taxation in the country, the Finance Minister added. Shri Mukherjee was speaking at the Investiture Ceremony organized here today to confer Presidential Award of Appreciation Certificates notified for the year 2011, to 35 officers and staff of the Customs and Central Excise Department. One of the officers was awarded the certificate for exceptionally meritorious service at the risk of his life.

The Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee said that the Customs and Excise Department has shown an ability to adapt quickly and successfully to the challenges of the rapidly changing economic environment in the country. Shri Mukherjee said that the introduction of mandatory e-filing of Central Excise and Service tax returns would not only make the process convenient for the assesses and reduce the transaction costs, but would also throw up useful information for analysis and for policy formulation.

The Finance Minister said that Central Excise is a significant contributor to the indirect tax revenues of the Union Government. He said that the Central Excise revenue has more than doubled over the last ten years from Rs. 68,282 crore in 2000-01 to Rs. 1,37,427 crore in 2010-11 which is 40 per cent of the total revenue from Indirect Taxes. Shri Mukherjee said that the in the current financial year, the collections from Central Excise up to January, 2012 stand at Rs. 1,17,730 crore, out of total indirect tax collections of Rs. 3,17, 233 crore. He said that there has been exponential growth in the service tax revenues over the years. As compared to a revenue of just Rs. 2612 crore in 2000-01, the service tax collections in 2010-11 stood at Rs. 70,391 crore, which is about 20 per cent of total indirect tax collections, the Finance Minister said. The Finance Minister Shri Mukherjee said that the indirect tax collection figures up to January 2012 indicate that there have been some gains over the last year. However, the Finance Minister said that still further efforts are required to ensure to meet the target of indirect tax collections for the current fiscal.

Appreciating the performance of the Central Customs and Excise Department in adapting quickly and successfully to the changing economic environment, he stated that the department has come a long way from the control based system to a record based system. Towards this end, he welcomed the IT initiatives of the Department including the steps to introduce mandatory e-filing of Central Excise and Service tax returns. The Finance Minister hoped that the customs department would continue to play a vital role in combating the menace of fake Indian currency, counterfeit products, narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, smuggling of which has become a major economic threat. He said that he was happy to see that the department has been proactive in co-operating with other countries for the prevention and detection of customs offences.

Congratulating the recipients of the Presidential Award, the Finance Secretary Shri R.S.Gujral said that their achievements would be a source of inspiration to the other officers of the Service. On the revenue front, he mentioned that while Service tax revenues had been buoyant, there were challenges in so far as Central Excise & Customs revenue were concerned. However, he expressed the hope that the budgetary targets would be achieved by the Department. Quoting the report of the Global Financial Integrity that 70% of the illicit outflow of funds is through trade mispricing, he highlighted the role of the Department in combating various forms of organized economic crimes. He mentioned that there was a good momentum on the GST front, the implementation of which required the concurrence of the States. Speaking about the welfare measures of the staff, Shri Gujral mentioned that the Cadre review of the Department is expected to be through within a period of one month.

Chairman CBEC Shri S.K.Goel informed that the indirect tax collections of Rs. 3,17,233 crore till January 2012 in the current financial year, are 15% more as compared to the revenues of the corresponding period last year. He was optimistic that the Budget Estimates for the current financial year will be completely met. He mentioned that the Department has to constantly strike a balance between trade facilitation and enforcement measures. He highlighted the efforts of the Department to encourage voluntary compliance through automation, improved taxpayer service delivery and non-intrusive methods of cargo clearance.

The ceremony was widely attended by serving and retired officers of the Department as well as invitees from outside.

Source: Press Information Bureau

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