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Mine revenue defies the whip

Bhubaneswar, Dec 2: A crackdown on mining activities has led to the closure of a number of mines in the last four years, but the state government has been able to register a 13.38 per cent growth in overall tax collection.

Additional chief secretary cum-finance secretary U.N. Behera said: “The closure of mining activities has not affected tax collection. We have streamlined the entire operation and been able to fetch Rs 3,079 crore till October against a target of Rs 5,515 crore.”

However, officials admitted that the tax collection would have been much more if all the mines were operational in the Sundargarh and Keonjhar belt.

“The mining activities have almost come to a standstill after Justice M.B. Shah Commission started its inquiry in 2011. At this point, whatever we get from the mining sector as tax is quite satisfactory,” an official said.

Steel and mines minister Rajanikant Singh said: “Not only the tax collection from the mining sector has made a steady growth, but the state’s own public sector unit Odisha Mining Corporation has also been able to make substantial profit. Because of its profit, it was able to give Rs 400 crore as dividend to the state government and we donated Rs 50 crore to the chief minister’s relief fund to carry out relief work in the cyclone and flood affected areas.”

Singh further hinted that as the department took a number of initiatives to check the pilferage of taxes, the revenue collection from the mining sector did not decline.

“Strict vigil was maintained in all the 17 commercial check gates and transportation of minerals streamlined,” said an official.

Finance minister Prasanna Acharya said: “In the current financial year, we set a target to collect Rs 17,605 crore from its own tax revenue and Rs 6,825 crore as non-tax revenue. We will achieve the target.”

The state government collects direct tax revenue from land revenue, stamps and registration, excise, sales tax, vehicle tax, entry tax and electricity duties. “Because of the land reforms initiated by the state government, the revenue from stamps duties has also increased by 18.57 per cent,” said an official.

On the other hand, the non-tax revenue includes mining royalty, forest and wildlife, water rate, irrigation and industrial water rate, water supply and sanitation, interests and dividend and other departmental receipts.

Similarly, the collection has also registered a growth in sales tax with an increase of 14.37 per cent and excise revenue has shot up by 17.25 per cent.

Significantly, Odisha has made a consistent growth both in the tax and non-tax revenue sectors. The overall revenue collection was Rs 9,509.67 crore in 2007-08 that leapfrogged to Rs.22, 942.24 crore in 2012-13.

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