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VAT implementation across board
June, 15th 2009

One of the many things in the government's taxation system beyond Bihar that has surprised deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi during his visit to other states in his role as finance minister is the hard fact: Patna Model' of holding (house) tax is under efficient implementation in several urban centres in the country barring Patna, where it was first conceived and evolved.

Former Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) administrator Sunil Kumar Singh (IAS) had conceived and structured it in the context of Patna in the 1990s for netting revenue to the urban bodies through holding tax. Mincing no words Modi said, "Everywhere I inquired about their taxation system urban bodies told me that they have adopted the Patna Model. I am sad to say that the same Patna Model in not under efficient imlementation in the place of its origin."

Modi, along with acting chief justice of the Patna High Court Shiv Kirti Singh, jointly released the two volumes of the book Principles of VAT in India' under the aegis of Bihar Industries Association on Sunday. Both Justice Singh and Modi praised Patna High Court lawyer Prakash Sahay for writing the book. "Taxation is a must, and people should pay it happily," Justice Singh said.

Modi said, "S K Singh has won many laurels and even international awards for evolving the system of holding tax. It has been failed in Patna. We will definitely implement it now more efficiently."

Modi said that until PMC and the government had sufficient tax base, it would be difficult to extend benefits to people. "It cannot be chicken-egg story," he said, adding, "We have been doing our best, but increased tax collections would help in giving them desired civic benefits."

Modi appealed to dealers and traders not to protest goods and service tax (GST), which would be operative all over the country from April 1, 2010. He said that GST would introduce a uniform tax regime in the country, and end the numerous taxes charged under the existing "sales tax regime".

He also appealed to trade circles to adopt computerisation since the government has made filing of e-returns of taxes mandatory for those payinmg taxes worth more than Rs 1 crore. "In the next one year, it would be further expanded to cover those who pay taxes worth Rs 10 lakh," he said, adding, "In Maharashtra, filing of e-returns has covered cent per cent traders." Two to three cyber cafes would be identified at every district headquarters to help the traders in filing e-returns.

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