New Delhi, Feb 22 (ANI): Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday said the Goods and Services Tax (GST) will bring about a paradigm shift in the arena of indirect taxation in the country.
He was addressing the award winning officers of the Customs and Central Excise Department.
"With the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST), we are now perhaps at the doorstep of the most significant reform in the history of indirect taxes in the country. Under the GST regime, uniform taxes will be levied by the Central and the State Governments through a common system of tax collection. 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," said Mukherjee.
"It will also remove barriers amongst States and convert the entire country into a common market. We are working with the State Governments for an early implementation of GST. Towards this end, an I.T. network called GSTN is being created to ensure integration of the tax systems of the Centre and the States. Once implemented, GST will bring about a paradigm shift in the arena of indirect taxation in the country," he added.
Appreciating the performance of the Central Customs and Excise Department in adapting quickly and successfully to the changing economic environment, Mukherjee stated that the department has come a long way from the control based system to a record based system.
"The Customs and Excise Department has undergone a major transformation in keeping with the needs of a rapidly changing economic environment in the country. The Department has shown an ability to adapt quickly and successfully to the challenges that it has encountered. In fact, by launching major IT initiatives for facilitating tax compliance, the Department has set an example for others to emulate," said Mukherjee.
"The latest such initiative, namely, 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," he added.
Mukherjee said the Central Excise is a significant contributor to the indirect tax revenues of the Union Government.
"The Central Excise revenue has more than doubled over the last ten years from ' 68,282 crores in 2000-01 to ' 1,37,427 crores in 2010-11.This accounts for 40 per cent of the total revenue from Indirect Taxes. I am told that in the current financial year, the collections from Central Excise up to January, 2012 stands at '1,17,730 crores, out of total indirect tax collection of '3,17, 233 crores," he added.
Stating that the Central Excise Department has been among the early stakeholders to pursue reforms as part of the liberalization process, Mukherjee said: "These reforms which began in 1994 and continued through the subsequent years brought about a strategic shift from the control-based gate pass system to invoice and record-based system."
"The objective of these reforms was to repose a greater trust on assesses and introduce a number of trade facilitation measures in Central Excise rules and procedures. The system of compliance in central excise was sought to be implemented mainly through audit and anti-evasion machineries. These reforms have to continue to their logical end, making compliance easy and cost effective," he added.
Mukherjee said the Central Board of Excise and Customs has consistently striven to put in place a transparent and efficient system of tax administration.
Mukherjee 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.
Mukherjee gave awards to 35 officers and staff of the Customs and Central Excise Department, congratulated all the awardees notified for the year 2011.
"I expect other officers to follow the standards set by awardees in their area of work so that we can provide an efficient, responsive and tax payer friendly administration sooner rather than later. I wish you all the very best in all your endeavours," he said.
One of the officers was awarded the certificate for exceptionally meritorious service at the risk of his life. (ANI)
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