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Tax target worry for Naveen govt

Bhubaneswar, Jan. 30: The state government, which had announced several welfare and development schemes anticipating higher revenue generation, now finds itself in a spot as tax collection for the current fiscal has not been up to the mark so far.

A target was set by the government initially for collection of tax revenue to the tune of Rs 4,469 crore in the 2006-07 fiscal. Later, it was revised to Rs 5,101 crore with a view to generate additional revenue that would help support development schemes like the Biju KBK Yojana and Gopabandhu Gramin Yojana.

The revenue collection figure stood at Rs 2,869 crore by the end of December, a recent review revealed. Last year’s revenue collection was Rs 3,569 crore.

What worries the government is that barely two months are left for the current financial year to end. A senior official said finance minister Prafulla Chandra Ghadei (in picture) has asked employees of the commercial taxes department to meet the target “at any cost”.

“It is a do or die situation. There should not be any let-up in revenue collection,” Ghadei reportedly said while warning the officials concerned.

Every commercial tax circle has been asked to collect 25 per cent more revenue compared to the previous year. Adverse entries will be made in the “character roll” of officials who fail to achieve the target. Even those employees who were promoted recently would not be relieved from their current jobs till the end of the fiscal, said an official.

Though the current year’s overall tax revenue collection has gone up by 27 per cent, compared to the corresponding period in 2005-06, the minister is apparently not happy with the performance and has asked the officials concerned to take all necessary steps to meet the target “at any cost”.

Finance department officials claimed that there had been a significant growth in the collection of major taxes like central sales tax (CST), value-added tax (VAT), entry tax and professional tax.

While the collection of central sales tax has registered a significant 55.84 per cent increase over the previous year, the growth rate for VAT was 22.6 per cent. Similarly, entry tax collection was up by 26.31 per cent while the growth rate for professional tax was 10.64 per cent.

What has become a headache for the officials is mobilisation of an additional Rs 1,500 crore to finance welfare projects. The burden of sops is also a concern.

An estimated Rs 120 crore each is required every year for implementation of the Biju KBK Yojana and Gopabandhu Gramin Yojana spread over a period of five years. The chief minister had also announced sops such as release of grant-in-aid for private educational institutions and additional DA for government servants.

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