The Finance Department will be advancing from e-governance to m-governance in the coming financial year.
Finance Minister T. M. Thomas Isaac announced a-communication facility and mobile based complaint redress system in the Budget for 2010-11.
Under the e-Communication facility, every VAT dealer will be provided with an e-Mail Id and it would be used for service of notices and communication of circulars. Sending communication to all 1,63,000 dealers every month is a mammoth task which will consume tons of paper. By dispensing with paper communication, about 750 trees can be saved from felling. The mobile numbers of all dealers will be enrolled so as to communicate with them through Short Messaging Service (SMS), the Minister said in his Budget speech.
The complaint redress cell will receive complaints against vehicle checking at check post and by squads through mobile phones and the same would be forwarded to the official concerned. The action taken in the matter would also be intimated to the complainant through mobile. The complaint and the reply would be available in the Web site of the department. This facility would become operational from this month itself.
Earlier, the Government had implemented the submission of returns under VAT and KGST through e-Filing. E-Payment has also been implemented. The earlier practice of dealers crowding assessing offices with returns and cheques has become a thing of the past. There is no delay in reconciliation of accounts as it has become an instant reconciliation. The Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers has appreciated the initiative of Kerala Government, Dr. Isaac said.
He also announced a facility for e-Payment of advance tax and downloading of statutory forms. e-Filing at check posts will follow.
There is a malpractice commonly resorted to whereby goods are transported using the TIN number of a dealer without their knowledge, for evading tax. The SMS service would completely prevent such malpractices, he said.
The Minister also announced introduction of online renewal of registration to dealers from 01-04-2010 onwards. PAN holders will be mandated to furnish the PAN number at the time of registration and renewal.
The above efforts of the Government have been well appreciated. The advantage of this system is that mismatches in the returns are picked up instantly during scrutiny. The trade has brought to the notice that they are being subjected to penal provisions on mere technical grounds. I intend to make very clear that they will not be proceeded against unless reasonable opportunity and time is given to explain the mismatch.
He also said that the activities of the Traders Welfare Board had been expanded considerably. It has been the common demand of all Trade organizations to enroll all registered dealers as members of the Board. It is decided to provide e-Payment facility for payment of subscription at the time of VAT registration or its renewal. e-Payment of subscription shall be made mandatory and it would be made compulsory for all registered dealers to be members of the Welfare Board.