Chandigarh: Tax collection in Punjab has increased by 17.3 percent during the first four months of the current fiscal, a government official said on Friday.
    
"We have seen a growth of 17.3 percent in tax collection during April till July this year," a senior official of Punjab Excise and Taxation Department said here.
    
Despite economic slowdown and sluggish demand, the tax collection touched the mark of Rs 4,993.99 crore till July, 2012 in comparison to collection of Rs 4,258.34 crore in corresponding period of last year.
    
The 17.3 percent growth is also higher than the growth of 13 percent in collection recorded during April-July, 2011. The double-digit growth in value added tax (VAT) mobilisation has been possible because of good performance by auto-parts, agriculture and FMCG segments, he said.
     
The state also saw an upswing in collection of excise as it went up by 21.8 percent during the same period. The excise and taxation department collected excise revenue of Rs 1,154.78 crore as on July 2012, rising by Rs 206.99 crore.
    
Punjab is eyeing VAT and excise collection of Rs 14,213 crore and Rs 3,800 crore respectively by 2012-13 and both these forms of taxes constitutes 75 percent of state's own taxes.
    
Growth in tax collection could also be attributed to the reward system launched by Punjab Excise and Taxation Department this year to prevent revenue leakage. Under this system, the consumers would be rewarded with a gift if they procure a bill after making any purchase from a retail store.
    
According to economists, Punjab can generate Rs 5,000 crore of additional taxes per annum only with tax compliance. State faces huge amount of revenue leakage every year because of non-issuance of bill by unscrupulous shopkeepers to suppress their sales to avoid tax payment, economists said.
    
The rise in tax collection assumes significance as it will also ease the "precarious" fiscal situation of the debt-stressed state where 80 percent of total revenue receipts are consumed by salary, pension and interest on borrowings, leaving little expenditure for development.
    
Increase in revenue is all the more important for the state government as SAD needs more funds to implement its promise of giving free laptops to girls of Class XI and XII, Rs 1,000 unemployment allowance, free cycles to girl students, five marls plots to landless poor, among other assurances which were part of its election manifesto.
    
The Centre had already suggested to Punjab government to improve its Tax to GSDP ratio from 7.5 percent to 9.5 percent like some other states have.

(Agencies)

Latest News from Punjab News Desk