Finance Minister K.M. Mani has said that online filing of taxes has made the system not only transparent in the State but also made the job hassle-free for traders.

At an interactive meeting organised by the Malabar Chamber of Commerce (MCC) here on Monday, the Minister said that e-payment and e-assessment had brought in a sea change in the attitude of traders. The computerised system had also made it easy to identify the “black sheep” among the trading community.

However, he maintained that the State government had no intention to harass merchants in the name of tax remittance. Already a Grievance Bureau had been formed to sort their problems.

The implementation of Value Added Tax had done away the double taxation system. Now it had benefited the traders, the government and the consumers. Tax remittance had grown in the last several years. In the past, the sales tax collected was 60 per cent of the total revenue, now it was almost 75 per cent, Mr. Mani said.

The taxation system would be bettered with the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the country from April 2012. It would replace the existing indirect taxation regime, he said.

MCC secretary M.P.M. Mubashir presented a memorandum to the Minister demanding that the State government form two ministries for industry and commerce. Now, both portfolios functioned under one ministry. The commerce wing had to tackle major issues and needed special focus, the memorandum said.

The memorandum also wanted the government to amend the outdated Kerala Buildings (Lease and Control) Act of 1965. The existing rules were of no use to the owners of buildings and lessees. Amendments should be framed in such as way that owners and occupants were guaranteed of their rights.

The MCC has sought the setting up of a bench of the Kerala Administrative Tribunal in Kozhikode for looking into complaints about the service conditions of government employees. Mr. Mani said that he would consult with officials on the demands mentioned in the memorandum and take necessary steps.

MCC president P.G. Anoop Narayanan presided over the programme. Former president P.V.Chandran presented the Minister with a ponnada.

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