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J&K leads in growth in tax revenue
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
Believe it or not, trouble-torn Jammu and Kashmir has registered the highest growth in the country as far as the collection of revenue from various state taxes is concerned.

Official sources said J and K registered 82 per cent growth in the revenue from taxes and was miles ahead of other states. Despite terrorism, the “consumer culture” is flourishing and people are using all sorts of facilities to improve their standard of living in J and K. That is reflected in the highest growth in the revenue from taxes.

And many may not believe it but it is a fact that Punjab figures at the bottom as far as growth in revenue from VAT is concerned. Punjab has registered 10.3 per cent growth in VAT revenue. Manpreet Singh Badal, finance minister, Punjab, confirmed this here today.

Other states leading in revenue from VAT are Kerala, which has registered a growth of 52 per cent, Himachal Pradesh 25 per cent and Haryana 22 per cent. The all-India growth in revenue from VAT is 25 per cent.

The issue of collection of revenue from taxes came up at the recently held meeting of the empowered committee of finance ministers headed by West Bengal minister Asim Dasgupta.

Whereas the per capita consumption of all goods, including luxury items, is the highest in Punjab, its tax growth is deplorable. There is a high incidence of tax evasion in the state.

Manpreet Badal said an exercise had started to replace VAT with what is called goods and services tax (GST) in the country. States have been told by the union government to present their points of view on it at the next meeting of the empowered committee scheduled for May 5. He said the GST was a superior system of tax collection and already countries like Brazil had adopted it.

The union government was keen on intoducing the GST in place of VAT by 2010-11, he added. States have been given four models of enforcing the GST and told to study these.

According to one model the union government should be empowered to levy all taxes. Under another model both the states and the centre should levy taxes.

The issue of levying taxes by the states on the products produced in special economic zones(SEZs) was also discussed at the meeting. Manpreet Badal said all states favoured the imposition of VAT on the products manufactured by the SEZs, he added. “ The states could not afford to treat SEZs as exclusive tax-free zones”, said Manpreet Badal.

He urged the union government to stop excise duty exemption on palm oil imported from Sri Lanka.

“Punjab’s edible oil industry is on the verge of collapse because of Rs 18,000 per tonne exemption in duty on Sri Lankan palm oil”, said Manpreet Badal.

The union government, Manpreet Badal said, had assured the Punjab government of help in auditing VAT. At present there was no provision for such auditing.

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