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Commercial taxes dept to be fully computerized by March
December, 17th 2011

Thanks to the Centre's move to have a common Goods and Service Tax (GST) regime from the next fiscal across the country, Bihar government has come under pressure to achieve 100% computerization of its commercial taxes department to ensure e-governance.

Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi pointed on Friday at an interface organized jointly by the World Bank and Bihar commercial taxes department.

The representatives of commercial taxes department of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Kerala and Orissa presented the achievements made in this regard in their respective states.

"We are committed to achieve full computerization of our commercial taxes department by March 31 next year," Modi said, adding: "Bihar, with the old mindset of its traders and officials, cannot afford to remain isolated in the country. The two parallel systems of manual work and computerization cannot work. The old mindset has to change."

Vinod Advani from Gujarat, Vikas Kulkarni and Rajendra Bhagat from Maharashtra, Murukesh Kumar and T Balu from Kerala, as well as P K Patra and Sahdeo Sahu from Orissa presented aspects of the effective changes brought out by e-governance in their respective states.

The theme of the interface was 'E-governance in commercial taxes department'.

"In our state, if any trader, businessman or dealer visits the commercial taxes department in connection with any official work, then we penalize them," said Advani from Gujarat, adding that e-registration, e-return and e-payment had come into force in his state.

Modi said computerization of the Bihar commercial taxes department had started in 2007, like in other states, but by now (2011) several states had achieved full or 80% computerization.

In 2007, only 37 dealers had computerized their operations in Bihar, but their number had increased to 7,000 now. Modi added that Bihar had 45,000 big dealers paying taxes, but only 5,000 of them had been filing e-returns.

"It is a matter of serious concern. The department has to augment the capacity of its server," Modi said.

By now, five banks - State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Bank of India, Bank of Baroda and Central Bank of India - are accepting e-returns filed by Bihar traders, which, despite constraints, was a positive sign.

"We have written to the RBI to remove the bottlenecks in this regard in Bihar," Modi said.

He also said that the report submitted by Nandan Nilekani-headed committee had recommended setting up of common GST Network ( GSTN) portal for the country for centralized data exchange under the GST regime, implying that Bihar traders had to comply with e-governance for more efficient business activities in the country.

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