Thursday, October 5, 2017

It is wise to act in time...!!!!


The horrific stampede that took place in Elphinstone Road railway station has shocked the hardy residents of Mumbai. Majority of the victims had undertaken fasts and the ladies were adorned in matching colour sarees and with ornaments, due to the Navratri festive season. Everyone had ventured from their homes, hoping to come back home safely, but unfortunately met with untimely deaths. The Railway Administration had no words to console and pacify the relatives of the victims. Fortunately or unfortunately, the Hon’ble Union Railway Minister was in town and visited the KEM Hospital to console those who have been injured in the stampede. Thereafter he has taken a major safety meeting in Delhi and took stock of his Ministry and sent the Chairman of the Railway Board to Mumbai immediately.

           On 01.10.2017, when the Chairman of the Railway Board landed in Mumbai, a battery of officials, of both the Western and Centre Railway were present to receive him. On seeing all the senior officers doing protocol, he lost his temper and chastened them and noted down the names of all those officers, unnecessarily present at the Airport, for initiating disciplinary action. Thereafter he held a series of meetings and took many historical steps which is unprecedented. He directed the senior officers to travel in the trains, that too in sleeper class and take long journeys, to gain first hand experience of the services and problems faced by the passengers. The move aims at improving on the amenities being provided to the passengers by the Railways. The General Manager and DRM will undertake journey in Sleeper class and 3rd A.C coaches to take stock of the condition of the coaches and its cleanliness. Utmost priority is to be accorded to passenger safety and the amenities in trains and at stations and urged the Officers to move out of their luxurious cabins & offices, to avoid unnecessary protocol duties and improve on their work ethics. Being a Mumbaite, we welcome the move by the Chairman of Railway Board as well as the Hon’ble Union Minister of Railways.

Coming to our Department, do our Authorities learn any lesson from others mistakes to improve our system, vis-a-vis the steps initiated by the Chairman of the Railway Board – of moving out of their posh cabins/saloons, of working at the ground level to know the difficulties faced by the officers and the tax payers, of working like a team, of being visible in the field than only at North Block. Respect and honour are given to senior officers due to their timely presence in the field and by their courageous actions, not by the post they merely occupy.

In the new tax regime i.e. GST, the senior officials are at the receiving end and those who are in the pivotal positions are helpless to redress the enormous problems faced by the taxpayers. We are truthful when we accept that “We were ready but our system may not have been ready...” but in the perception of the public, it appears deceitful. The problem faced by the Central Processing Cell, issues reported by the tax payers which even the GSTN helpdesk  are unable to resolve. Constant extension of deadlines and numerous errors occurring while filing the TRAN and Regular returns coupled with non-availability of the facility of revision of returns has added to the taxpayers problems. Whereas, in the VAT department they are ahead little bit than us wherein the registrations are being issued at local offices and no special CPC has been formed. Further, test checking of invoices has also been taken up by state authorities. We do not know how long our management will stretch the event to make it robust and assessee friendly. If my seniors, without waiting for any directions from the top are available in the field,  suo moto, like the Railways, then the time will not be far off, when issues faced by the officers and assessees of GST, are quickly redressed.

The amenities provided to the GST Officers are abysmal, (least say about the infrastructure)  but the expectations are sky high - that they will deliver as they did during the times when SRP and physical controls were in existence. Now when everything is automated and the system is handicapped, the staff has no power to generate or upload anything, except merely watching, like a night-watchman, waiting for redressal of their issues. It pinches when authorities preach that the system is brought to curtail human interface and curb Inspector Raj. When there is no Raj, but our own seniors publicly condemn its own officials, just to appease the trade. The trade wants that their difficulties are to be addressed – like not to be penalised for the systems failure which is no fault of theirs.


 CESA Mumbai hopes that our senior officers will be aware of the real and reality at the ground level - that the moral of the officers at the field level is too low. There is no one to guide them, to lead them or to redress their grievances, so that they can serve this Department with dignity and with utmost sincerity. If the senior officials of the Railway can forego their luxurious cabins and stand-up to improve / provide for safety amenities, cleanliness, etc., then why not the Members of our Board and other senior officers, to serve along with the foot-soldiers, on the economic front.

GST network braces for biggest challenge...!!!



The Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) is bracing itself for a “big challenge” set to emerge in the coming weeks as a ministerial panel Wednesday ruled out any further extension for filing GSTR 1 returns by traders.

“There will be no extension,” said Sushil Kumar Modi, head of the five-member panel constituted to resolve the technology glitches being faced by traders on the network. “Already it has been extended three to four times and we are talking about July returns. Another big challenge that is facing us after October 10 deadline is when GSTR 2 will be filed.”

“GSTR 1 is outward and sales and GSTR 2 is purchase. It is auto-populated. Then there will be a matching of invoices of GSTR 1 and 2. That will be a much bigger challenge. We are all prepared for that challenge. We will discuss any new issue when it crops up. It is a big work. We have 21 days. If we succeed, 90% of the GSTR can be resolved in the coming days. As challenges come we will deal with it,” Mr. Modi said.

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) came into effect on July 1. The indirect tax system has been plagued with technology problems, with traders and dealers struggling to file returns before the stipulated deadlines.

GSTR deadlines

The GST Council, in its September 16 meeting, had fixed October 10 as the deadline for GSTR 1 relating to supplies made, October 31 for GSTR 2 relating to purchases, and November 10 for GSTR 3, a comprehensive one for the month of July.

“On August 20, the summary tax return or 3B, only 15 lakh returns were filed. But in the next 24 hours, 13 lakh returns were filed,” Mr. Modi said. “The system which is developed by Infosys is so robust and is capable to handle a large number of returns. There was not a single complaint that the system had crashed or of major glitches when people were able to file 13 lakh of returns in a single day,” he said. On October 10, for GSTR 1, a detailed return in which all the outward supplies or sales are mentioned, there was a “big gap,” Mr. Modi, also the Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, said.

“For the month of July, 52 lakh dealers have filed the returns. But the detailed GSTR 1 has been filed by only 33 lakh, 43,000 dealers. Only six days are left and I appeal to the dealers to file the detailed returns for the month of July. Infosys has the names and numbers of the dealers and SMS will be sent to all the dealers. Local tax administrators will also contact all the dealers who have not filed their detailed returns,” he said.

Infosys would send a team of qualified technicians to coordinate with the State tax administration to speed up and resolve technology issues, Mr. Modi said. “There are 27 States which constitute the Model 2 States. Model 1 States, like Karnataka, have developed their own backend. Model 2 States have had a problem creating the backend. Last meeting, we requested for developing a software for Model 2 States. There is a lot of progress here too,” he said. “Earlier, many of the things were done manually. Now everything is automated. So, there is a lot of difference as there will be no or minimum human intervention. So, initially, there will be some problems. People who had not earlier worked with technology are facing problems. We and Infosys are trying to solve these problems.”

The next meeting of the GST Council, slated for October 6, will decide on the refund of taxes to exporters and issues being faced by even small traders “90% of revenue is coming only from four lakh taxpayers. In GSTN, more than 90 lakh of taxpayers are registered.”
From Sources:-

***********************

Thursday, September 28, 2017

A GST Good and Simple....!!!


The GST was India’s second tryst with destiny and introduced with the great hope that it would help India achieve economic greatness. But with each passing week, the new complex tax system is getting increasingly difficult to implement. Seventy years ago, India was ill prepared for a hastily imposed independence and the birth of two nations. The consequence was the tragedy of Partition. The country was equally ill prepared for the GST which came in the wake of extensive collateral damage inflicted by demonetisation. The consequence has been a serious setback to several sectors of the economy.

If the GST has to be made “good and simple” it is suggested that the following “not-to-do list” be adopted, at least in the short term.

One, e-way bills. The implementation of e-way bills should be postponed for at least a year. The existing electronic system is woefully inadequate and one shudders to think what will happen if every movement of goods requires access to a portal for generation of an e-way bill. Further, most transport operators have only a few trucks and it will be cruel to inflict this torturous system on them when the Centre and states are ill prepared.

Two, monthly returns. The proposed system of filing GSTR-1, GSTR-2 and GSTR-3 — three returns per month — proved to be unworkable and necessitated the GSTR-3B return which is a monthly summary. This monthly return should be continued for a year till the electronic infrastructure is improved. It is also worth reconsidering the need to file 36 monthly returns per year per state. These provisions are ill-advised and need to be dropped.

Three, matching of invoices. This system does not exist anywhere in the world and there is not a single logical reason why this should be implemented in India. It will place an intolerable burden on the electronic infrastructure and entail huge compliance costs for the small and medium sectors. There is a huge tax bureaucracy which is meant to take care of errant tax-payers. If all assessees match their invoices, why have the tax department or at least 80 per cent of them?

Four, exports. No sector has been dealt with a more crippling blow than the export sector. Under the earlier system, non excise exporters, merchant exporters and service exporters could simply export goods and services. In the GST regime, an exporter has to execute a letter of undertaking subject to eligibility or a bond with bank guarantee just to export. The government promised instant refunds but this has not happened. Merchant exporters who could earlier procure goods without tax are required to pay the GST which is a cash outflow. Airfreight on exports which was not subject to service tax now attracts a GST of 18 per cent. Jobworkers who were not taxed before now charge GST on the exporter. Now, had the system functioned and all these input taxes were immediately and automatically refunded, the position would have been tolerable. But serious glitches in the electronic system have adversely affected the refund system resulting in serious working capital pressure on exporters. Unless the earlier system is restored, Indian exports will be seriously affected.

Apart from the above not-to-do-list, the following steps are suggested to make the GST business-friendly and more in tune with Indian ground realities. One cannot wish away the large unorganised sector and it is not practical to bludgeon them into becoming instantly tax-compliant by digitisation. The composition scheme, applicable to traders up to Rs 75 lakh, is a non-starter because it does not permit any inter-state purchase/sale. Thus, a small hosiery shop in Mumbai cannot purchase banians or socks from Tirupur. And traders in places like Delhi and Goa will be unable to avail the scheme because most products have to be brought from other states.
It is necessary to seriously consider a flat-tax GST rate of, say, 10 per cent, on all businesses with a turnover of upto Rs 2 crore regardless of the product or service. The GST paid thereon should also be eligible for input credit. Such a reduction will be a terrific boost to the growth of goods and services, while eliminating huge paper work and electronic overload. However, it is necessary to determine the number of manufacturers, traders and service providers who will come within the Rs 2 crore slab, which can be increased or decreased suitably.

It is also necessary to stop making changes in procedure and adding new requirements. Seven amendments to the CGST rules in a span of less than three months and multiple amendments to notifications have only increased the confusion. The FAQs, published at great cost, must be binding on the Centre and the states as they ensure pan-India certainty. It is strange to include a disclaimer after the FAQs resulting in an open invitation to the tax department to make demands contrary to the clarifications issued from time to time.

More serious problems lie ahead. The multiple rates of taxation and an elaborate classification system are bound to lead to classification disputes. It is imperative that classification is shrunk to three or four categories with not more than three applicable rates. A lower rate of GST will stimulate demand and spur economic growth because high taxes are always counter-productive. Indeed, a major part of the revenue of the states is from petroleum products and excise duty on alcohol. The collection of sales tax on various other goods is substantially less. Therefore, having a maximum GST of 18 per cent will result in substantially more revenue than the present complex system of higher rates of taxes.

The proposed system of shared administration will also lead to serious difficulties. It is better that the states are given exclusive jurisdiction to deal with assessees upto a turnover of Rs 10 crore or even Rs 25 crore so that the Centre can only deal with assessees with higher revenue. It will, of course, be necessary to ascertain the number of units that will be covered if the slab is raised to Rs 10 crore or Rs 25 crore.

Even the most ardent supporter of the GST cannot deny that the new system has not been as beneficial as expected. The present GST system, like socialism, sounds wonderful in theory but is completely unworkable in practice. It is dangerous to proceed with the hope that things will eventually settle down. Immediate steps are necessary to ensure that India’s second tryst with destiny does not become a tryst with disaster.

From Sources:-

****************

Thursday, September 14, 2017

UNSEEN FACE OF MANY GHAZANIS...



          Various events, happening in different parts of the country, when presented chronologically,  will give you an account of the day-to-day happenings in our Department, which is not only detrimental to the interest of the Department, but also brings dis-repute to the entire organisation. Nowadays, when any untoward incidents take place, the news spread like wild fire, because of the modern telecommunication technology. 
The first incident was reported in various WhatsUp groups, about the corrupt practice being adopted by a senior officer posted at Vadodara, who was recently transferred on promotion to Kolkata.
The second one, which unfortunately resulted in a fatal outcome, due to the corrupt practice being followed in Ludhiana. A senior Superintendent lost his life, on feeling helpless before a  corrupt authority, who crossed all limits of office decorum & decency, not to say anything about a humane touch.  On the previous day he had met all the senior officers with whom he pleaded his case, but to no avail. None offered him any solace... Can the Administration now bring back this mortal, if we assure that the money, which was demanded, is collected from all our members and handed over, to fulfil the senior officer’s greed !! The letter which is in circulation is self-explanatory.
The third one happened on 08.09.2017, where an officer in Mumbai was trapped and is still in CBI custody. The bribe was accepted to fulfil the greedy demands of her Deputy Commissioner, who is blatantly corrupt and known for unfair practices during her previous postings also.
 The officers at the bottom become the scapegoats, who have no power to use or misuse.  His services are used and is trapped before he understands whether he is enriching himself or his senior officer...
            
             Anti-corruption slogans should not remain as a mere slogan - it should not only be felt but should also be seen in practice. Zero tolerance of corruption should not remain as a convenient script for TV advertisements, but should be seen to be enforced, especially on senior officers who indulge in it by forcing the junior officers to meet all their expenses by compromising / misusing their position & power.
             These happenings are an awakening call. The Administration at Delhi should wake up and act before any other untoward incident takes place.


 

*****************

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Ji_Yes_Tea_N...!!!

GoM members appointed to resolve GSTN issues 


The Union Finance Minister has set up a Group of Ministers led by Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar Sushil Kumar Modi and a committee on Exports under Revenue Secretary, Hasmukh Adhia to monitor and resolve the IT challenges faced in the implementation of GST and exports, respectively.
The members of the GoM are Amar Agrawal, minister for commercial taxes, Chhatisgarh; Krishna Byre Gowda, minister for agriculture, Karnataka; T.M. Thomas Isaac, finance minister, Kerala and Etela Rajender, finance minister, Telangana.
The GoM will be assisted in its work by the chairman, Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) and the CEO of GSTN. The decisions was taken at the GST Council Meeting held in Hyderbad.
 The Committee on Exports will look at the issues of export sector and recommend to the GST Council for suitable strategy to help the sector in the post-GST scenario. It will also have chairperson, CBEC; Member (Customs), CBEC; Director General, DGFT; Addional Secretary, GST Council; Director General, DG Export Promotion and Commissioners of Commercial Taxes from Gujarat,  Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

   From Sources:-



    Since July new GST Commissionerates have started functioning. Before that, bifurcation & new Commissionerates have been created. Since then not a single penny has been spent on Infrastructure. Expectations are many, attendance on Sewa Kendras are monitored but without any facility and any extra remuneration. 

   Senior Officers from the department have taken mid-career training programmes in abroad. but of what use specially in the present scenario. The amount of money required now for smooth transition are not even provided. the officers are bound to cough up these expenditures from their own pockets. Hope the council will appoint a committee just like for GSTN Infrastructure in CBEC.

***********************

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A fair decision without any fare...!!!

          
           In our previous blog we covered the details. As per the schedule, meeting was taken place. The Mumbai administration presented the issue in a lucid manner. As per the new GST regime,The staff position were discussed in detail with facts and figures and urged to maintain uniform vacancies in both the zones i.e. Mumbai and Pune. The delegation of CESA Mumbai was present. The authority appreciated the sensible suggestions made by us and rejected insensible submissions made by the self-styled leader of the splinter group. The issue of Aurangabad officers posted in Mumbai was cropped up, but no decision was taken to repatriate these officers because of non-availability of sanctioned posts therein.

          The present hour is required to serve the Cadre not to promote any individuals in the name of Cadre, At least one should be truth full to the colleagues those who have reposed faith on us. One should not indulge in betraying and giving all sort of false assurances for cheap popularity, which will give a wrong signal in the field level. One should not give any assurances without knowing the ground reality, the administration can only act as per the rule book and not to pamper or satisfy any individuals. To secure favour for one individual can be a trick but for all need a policy decision. To be fair needs an experience but taking a fare for cause is an unfair practice and unethical.

          The meeting has not caused any cost. After due deliberation, decision has been taken, which is as under. 


1. Those who have completed already one year i.e. five officers along with two cases on medical grounds to be repatriated immediately.(7)

 2. Ten officers will be repatriated in October.(10)

            3. Five officers each in November and December.(10)

            4. Rest of the officers before March.

            5. No substitute will be asked to replace these officers.

         All are eager to repatriate, hope no case of having bogus medical ground will be entertained taking advantage of the gentleness of the present administration.


                There are around more than 400 vacancies, but No DPC   because of no officers are having eligibility of qualifying service of minimum 8 years as well as CAT case in Mumbai. In the next promotions, situation will be different the vacancies will be more in Mumbai than the Pune, Nasik, Aurangabad and Goa. The officers of Mumbai may be placed in Mumbai and officers of these four places will be forced to post in Mumbai, because of lack of vacancies in their places. The relief as on date the no officer will be posted from the roster for rotations from Pune to Mumbai and vice-versa. Orders of 17 officers are likely to be issued within a day or two. Seven officers will be repatriated immediately and ten will be repatriated in October. 

               We do not copy others, but those who have copied, only paste our issues as they have nothing of their origin.
  

*********************




Sunday, September 10, 2017

PLAYING WITH PAIN WITH FALSE ASSURANCES

It is always painful leaving own place whether it is on promotion or any other pretext.  Those who have undergone exile leaving their family in one place and working in other area and coming weekly/fortnightly/monthly to meet their family they know the pain and trauma which they have silently beared. The life of Mumbai is always hectic but when we join and settle in this city it has become our favorite place despite of its merits and demerits and pace of life.  Mumbai zone is a stagnated one and on promotions in the fag end of the career the officers are forced to go out of Mumbai for a period of one year as an exile.  No officer willing to leave this place and   several officers denied their promotions when they are posted outside,  At present there are 46 Superintendents of Mumbai in Pune Zone.  Five officers have completed one year service and thirty officers have completed six months and the rest have completed less than that period.  Nineteen officers (17+2) are posted in Goa and 2 in Kolhapur,4 inpune customs. At present the working strength in Pune is 452 where as the sanctioned strength is 567 thus there is a vacancy of 115 Superintendents and if the current 46 officers are added then there will be a vacancy of 161 posts (i.e., about 28.39%) whereas at present Mumbai is having vacancy percentage of 27% as number of officers posted in various formations are not repatriated although they have completed their loan tenure.  If all such officers are repatriated, there will be an improvement in the Mumbai Zone position.
            A meeting is scheduled on 12.09.2017 which is long pending, wherein Chief Commissioner, Pune Shri A.K. Pande, Shri Gawai Commissioner, Pune-I and Chief Commissioner, Mumbai Zone Shri S.C.Varshney will assess the staff positions to maintain  a uniform vacancy in all the three zones viz., Mumbai, Pune, Nashik and Aurangabad.  The demand of Mumbai Zone to repatriate all the 46 officers as there are huge work load as the tax base has been increased more than 6000 assesses are recently allotted in the new tax regime plus there is a demand from M & P to post at least 10 Superintendents and 15 Superintendents to DGCEI.    
            As the present C.C. of Nagpur Zone having jurisdiction of Nashik and Aurangabad Commissionerates, is  holding Additional Charge of Pune Zone also had recently posted 8 officers of Aurangabad Commissionerate  to Mumbai as they do not have vacancy in Nashik and Aurangabad.  In Pune zone, the local officers are reluctant to move from Pune to Kolhapur, Customs and Goa Commissionerates.  When the officers of Mumbai are posted on promotion to Pune Zone, they are forced to post in these three places although they are seniors in ranking.  If the proposals mooted by the Mumbai agreed upon by the Pune C.C. then, the vacancies in Kolhapur, Customs and Goa are to be filled by their own officers of Pune zone.  From the history of the Mahabharat till now no one wants to leave a single inch of place, for others let us hope the best.
            It is a practice  that the officers .who have completed one year in Pune (i.e., 5 officers) can be relieved and in their place no officers from Mumbai to be posted plus any officers any education of their wards and officers on compassionate grounds can be relieved and in their place no substitute can be posted.  The officers of Aurangabad posted in Mumbai are equally undergoing hardship postings.  When proportionate vacancies are under discussions then the vacancy of Nashik and Aurangabad are to be taken on the same foot. 
 As regards, to DGCEI, Mumbai Superintendents are to be posted on loan basis or on regular basis, then all the officers be given deputation allowance as admissible.  Their service should not be taken as bonded labour.  Further, the space occupied in NTC House are too cozy to accommodate even the officers presently posted therein.  Further, the performance and the success rate needs to reviewed and the officers are not to be posted forcibly to carry out the legacy work or for the pending junk.
            Now, M&P in the new tax regime the officers of Central Excise are discriminated day by day the base/ existence   are marginalized.  From October, 2017, onwards the Customs work carried out by the Central Excise officers are to be switched over to the Customs the reason given by the Board as well as the stand taken is totally unfair towards central excise faternity.  CESA, Mumbai feels no officers be posted to M&P and the officers already posted therein are to be repatriated.  The stand taken by the then Chief Commissioner, Zone-II Ms. Arusha Vasudevan and Chief Commissioner of Central Excise, Zone-I Shri V.S. Krishnan that the work of M&P to be manned by the Customs Staff and not by the Central Excise staff as proposed at the time of re-structuring in 2014. 
It is to appeal to the officers of Mumbai posted at Pune not to fall into the trap of any individual for illusionary suggestions and tempting for any inducement or adapting unfair practices they can be brought back to Mumbai is totally false and mis-leading one.   Both the Chief Commissioners are very fair enough and clear in their stand. The factual positions are narrated so that you will not be a victim.  After the meeting, the detailed decisions will be posted.