Rather for ‘No seizure policy’ at Toll Posts

Jammu, January 20 (Scoop News) –Saying that formulation of roadmap for faster, sustainable and more inclusive growth is the fulcrum of State’s planning and budgeting, the Minister for Finance & Ladakh Affairs,  A.R. Rather on Sunday said that all the possibilities and opportunities will be pooled to make the budget proposals for ensuing financial year representative to the needs and aspirations of the people.

Speaking to the members and representatives of PHDCC, Institute of Public Opinion, Industrial Associations of IGC Samba, Bari Brahmana, Kathua Gangyal and various Transport Associations of Jammu on the second consecutive day of pre-budget discussions,  Rather said while it was endeavor of the Government to make the budget proposals pro-people and business friendly, the trade and Industry too has an obligation to cooperate with the tax enforcing agencies at various levels, keeping in view the revenue interests of the State and ensure that there is zero tax evasion. “Revenue mobilization is pivotal for development and progress of a resource starved State like J&K and it should be the joint responsibility of all the stake holders including trade, industry and the Government in itself to make no compromise in this regard.”  Rather asserted and asked the business community to aspire for more tax concessions and incentives only proportionate to the State’s revenue resources. He said despite having meager resources, the Government has extended unprecedented tax relief to the people especially trade and industry during last 3 years, which is in itself a record in the history of the State. He said instead of levying fresh taxes, it has been preferred to bring further reforms and improvements in the existing tax and fiscal management system which has paid rich dividends, resulting in two fold increase in tax revenue of the State in 3 years, from Rs. 2600 Crore in 2009 to Rs. 5500 Crore in 2012-13.

The Economic Advisor to the Government,  Jalil Ahmed Khan, Financial Commissioner Finance,  Iqbal Khandey, Commissioner Commercial Taxes, Kifayat Hussain Rizvi, Additional Commissioner Commercial Taxes (Adm.) Jammu,  P.I. Khateeb, Special Secretary Finance,  Zubair Ahmed, Deputy Commissioner Commercial Taxes (HQ)  Showkat Aijaz, Deputy Commissioner Commercial Taxes (Audit), Ms. Anoo and Deputy Commissioner Commercial Taxes Executive, Ms. Anuradha were also present in the meeting.

            The Minister said, with a view to mitigate hardships of the business community on account of traffic jams and wastage of time in tax clearance, the Government has recently commissioned one of the best in the country, fully computerized New Toll Plaza at Lakhanpur hoping that it will prove a turnaround in the promotion of trade and industrial growth in the State. “But traders shall have to abide by the rules and regulations to ensure zero percent tax evasions and law violations adding that it was disheartening to note that 24000 suspected violations have been reported at the Toll Post in last fiscal against only 2% seizures, though Government follows the policy of “no seizures” at all. He said only random 4-5 vehicles are presently detained for physical checks at the Toll Plaza, Lakhanpur, adding that the Government endeavors to further minimize such checks for convenience of the business and transporters fraternity. He said taxable imports recorded at Commercial Taxes Checkpost Lakhanpur have increased from Rs. 4275 Crore in the year 2000-2001 to Rs. 21544.26 Crore upto ending November of the current financial year whereas exports during the same period rose from Rs. 904 Crore to Rs. 8598 Crore.

            The delegations presented their memoranda of demands and raised various issues which mainly included VAT remission extension, annual assessment of raw material/finished goods for toll tax exemption, 3% interest subsidy to industrial units set up prior to 2002 also, reduction in electricity duty, amnesty scheme by PDD, creation of new industrial estates and marketing support to local SSI Units.

            The IPO demanded setting up of more parking lot in Jammu , check on food adulteration, setting up of a Health Standard Regulatory Autority, adequate budgetary provision for scientific treatment of medical and other wastes, operationalization of the District Sports Bodies, good budgetary allocations for Beti Anomol Scheme to address gender disparity, expeditious execution of already approved sewerage treatment plants for the twin cities of Jammu and Srinagar and incentives like land and tax concession for setting up of hospital/health institutions in the State.

            Amongst others,  Vikrant Kuthalia, Rahul Sahai, Rajinder Motial of PHDCC, J&K Chapter, Arun N. Gupta of IPO, Anil Raina, Davinder Verma, Lalit Mahajan, Balbir Gupta and Anil Suri of various Industrial Associations of Gangyal, Kathua, Samba and Bari Brahamna industrial estates and Mukesh Vaid and Vinod Sharma of Goods and Transport Companies Association were also present during today’s pre-budget discussions.