Loopholes mar revenue collection

By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Oct 24: Although the State has limited resources and it is generally accepted that Manipur is largely dependent on Central assistance and grants for its financial requirements, there are many loopholes in the process of revenue collection in the State.
The primary financial resources of the State Government are Goods & Services Tax (GST) and grant-in-aid provided by the Central Government from time to time.
With the State Government more interested in GST and grant-in-aid, the State is unable to collect its own revenue to the full potential and there are many loopholes in the process of collecting revenue, and this is the fundamental reason for the State’s inability to get out of the perpetual financial woes.
Sources said that forest, motor vehicles, land revenue and weight and measures are some areas/departments through which the State Government can collect substantial amount of revenue.
They opined that the State’s financial condition would see marked alleviation if the Government pays full attention to these four departments  and ensure that there is no loophole in the process of revenue collection.
The Government needs to devise a mechanism for determining the quantum of forest resources exploited/extracted in a day or year. After determining the quantum of forest resources in a year, the Government must ensure that the tax collected  is commensurate to the quantity of forest resources extracted, said the sources.
Although Manipur is said to be a poor State, almost each and every citizen is apparently owning at least one motor vehicle. However it remains highly questionable whether the tax collected from motor vehicles matches the total number of vehicles or there is transparency in collecting tax or the full amount of tax actually reaches the Government exchequer or not, said the sources.
Nowadays, smart cards are issued when any vehicle is registered with Transport Department but there is no separate ledger for smart cards.
If a separate ledger is maintained for smart cards, how much tax is collected and how much revenue should be accrued to the Government exchequer can be determined easily and there would be transparency in the whole process.
Two-wheelers and light motor vehicles are now compelled to pay one-time tax while heavy vehicles like trucks are exempted from this rule.
With the one-time tax not applied to heavy vehicles, there have been many heavy vehicles which went out of service permanently without paying due tax, said the sources.
Land revenue includes land tax, registration fee collected at the time of buying/selling land and mortgage fees.
Although land records have been computerised, it cannot be checked online whether one is paying land tax or not as no separate ledger is maintained in the system for the patta holder, said the sources.  
If a separate ledger is maintained in the computerised system, it can be easily determined how much land tax is due and this would ensure transparency as well as enhanced revenue collection.
A substantial amount of revenue can be collected by verifying and checking packed food items sold at markets whether the weights  of the contents are printed on the packets and whether packed items weigh lesser than the printed weights, the sources said.
There are so many loopholes in the revenue collection process and the departments which have the potential to collect substantial amount of revenues are not active enough.
When these departments are not active, the State’s financial condition is unlikely to register any improvement or growth, the sources added.