Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said that effective steps must be taken to increase GST collection and check tax evasion so that maximum resource generation could be ensured for the state.

Presiding over the meeting of the state Excise and Taxation department on Thursday, the chief minister expressed his satisfaction with the performance of the department regarding revenue receipts collection during the ongoing financial year 2020-21.

Despite Covid effect, the department collected an amount of Rs 4,703 crore towards the government exchequer during the financial year 2020-21 against Rs 5,066 crores during the same period of last year.

The chief minister expressed his satisfaction on the decreasing gap between cumulative revenue of current financial year and previous financial year from 39 percent in July 2020 to 7 percent in December 2020. Thakur stressed on focusing enhancement of departmental enforcement capabilities to detect tax evasion and thereby plug in leakages for enhancement of state revenue.

He further directed the department to ensure taxpayers’ ease with initiating regular interaction with taxpayers and creating awareness among them.

The chief minister assured that the department would be adequately strengthened and equipped with all such facilities which are required for effective and efficient tax administration to maximize the Government Revenue by way of transparency and efficient functioning. Thakur said that greater stress must be laid on Legacy Cases Resolution Schemes to dispose-off legacy cases by payment of settlement fees.

He said that although the last date to opt for this scheme has been extended from 30 September 2020 to 21 January 2021, Rs 72 crore recovered under this scheme till December last was not enough.

He said that strategy should be chalked out to dispose-off legacy cases and achieve target set under the scheme. He said that more focus must be laid on big cases to achieve more with less affect. He said that the department should adopt a more proactive approach for revenue enhancement under Goods and Services Tax Act.

The chief minister launched the GST FAQ’s booklet for awareness among taxpayers.

The chief minister also presented a cheque of Rs. 1.5 crore to the state Exchequer on behalf of Technical Service Agency, a registered society by Principal Secretary Excise and Taxation J.C. Sharma.

It was emphasized to increase professionalism in the department by way of conduct of intensive and adequate training programmes for capacity building under various enactments and to emulate the best practices and models available in the Country.

Principal Secretary Excise and Taxation JC Sharma emphasized on regular monitoring of field officer’s performance. He also directed special focus on Physical Verification of E-way bills, Compliance of GSTR3B return filing, Mismatches in returns filed by taxpayers for enhancement of State Revenue. Commissioner Excise and Taxation Rohan Chand Thakur made a detailed presentation of various initiatives taken by the Department to increase Tax collection in the state.

Additional Chief Secretary Finance Prabodh Saxena and other senior officers attended the meeting.