Former senior bureaucrat EAS Sarma urges MoEF to take action, or says that concerned files may disappear. He has also filed an RTI application. These environmental violations have taken place in coastal regulation zones, but ‘deemed’ permission has been obtained from authorities
Former power and finance secretary EAS Sarma, has asked the environment ministry to take action against alleged land-grabbing by some Andhra Pradesh ministers and bureaucrats in the coastal regulation zone (CRZ) area of Vishakhapatnam. Dubbing the incident as the second ‘Adarsh’, Mr Sarma has expressed his apprehension that the documents in this case too, can go missing.
“This is a case of land grab by some persons in collusion with a state minister and some senior IAS officers who, in turn, received illegal gratification by way of posh apartments allotted in the illegal multi-storeyed complex built near RK Beach at Visakhapatnam. This scam has all the attributes of the infamous Adarsh Housing scam of Mumbai,” Mr Sarma told Moneylife. The properties have got ‘deemed permission’, despite the controversy.
Mr Sarma had also earlier written to the Andhra Pradesh state secretary, citing a series of violations which had made the occupation of CRZ land possible. He had also asked to preserve the files related to this issue, but is afraid that his request has not been given due importance. “I am writing this letter specifically to remind the state government of my apprehension that the relevant files of the state revenue department, chief commissioner of land administration (CCLA), registration department, the offices of district collector, commissioner, Greater Vishakhapatnam Municipal Corporation and Vishakhapatnam Urban Development Authority will be destroyed and tampered with as it has transpired in the case of the Adarsh Housing scam,” Mr Sarma has written to the state secretary.
Mr Sarma alleges that some politicians and bureaucrats have been granted land at prices below the market rate; and the properties have been undervalued to evade tax. He said that it is better to have some independent investigating agency like the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) to probe the irregularities.
Mr Sarma wrote to T Chatterjee, secretary to the Union ministry of environment and forests, “I am surprised that MoEF has not yet issued a notice to state authorities on the CRZ violation involved in this case.” He said that he has enough documentary evidence against the accused to prosecute them. He had also filed an RTI (Right to Information) application with the state revenue department, but his queries have gone unanswered so far.
“Once we are allowed deemed credit on scrap, excise revenue of the Centre will increase and malpractice prevalent in trade will also be curbed,” All India Induction Furnaces Association president, KK Garg said
Chandigarh: Secondary steel producers have sought from the Centre—deemed credit—facility on scrap sourced locally from non-excisable units, saying it will curb “large scale duty evasion” and boost government revenue, reports PTI.
“We have urged the Centre to allow induction furnace owners to claim deemed credit on scrap bought domestically from units which do not fall under the purview of central excise,” All India Induction Furnaces Association (AIIFA) president, KK Garg told PTI here.
“If deemed credit facility is allowed, it will plug the leakage of revenue and ensure prevention of malpractice, prevalent in the trade and industry,” he said.
AIIFA has written to finance minister Pranab Mukherjee for restarting the deemed credit facility for the secondary steel makers.
Mr Garg said that as per rule 13 of Cenvat Credit Rules 2004, the Centre has the power to notify goods for deemed credit. Earlier, till 1987, deemed credit facility was available on iron and steel products.
However, this facility was suspended after Centre received complaints regarding its misuse.
Various industries, outside the purview of central excise, like bicycle, sewing machines, SSI engineering and units, located in tax free zones, produce scrap out of steel on which excise duty is already paid.
Indigenous steel-melting scrap sourced from non-excisable units constitutes 40% of total input requirement for country’s induction furnace owners.
“The problem arises as scrap sellers could not produce excise documents while selling to us. As a result of which induction melting furnace units are not able to get any duty credit on steel products made out of this type of scarp,” he said.
As the industry procures scrap without proper bills, it sells steel ingots made out of this scrap while adopting ‘illegal means’, including not paying excise duty on these goods by hoodwinking central excise authorities, according to industry experts.
“Once we are allowed deemed credit on scrap, excise revenue of the Centre will increase and malpractice prevalent in trade will also be curbed,” he said.
The industry suggested that deemed credit be capped in order to prevent its misuse.
There are about 950 induction furnace owners in the country catering to wide range of industry verticals for iron and steel requirements.
The Revenue Department is trying to locate 9 lakh business entities that have stopped filing service tax returns, with a view to improving collections and to ascertain whether there is any tax evasion
To locate 9 lakh entities that have stopped filing service tax returns, the Revenue Department has decided to cross check the present mandatory e-filings with past records.
The exercise is likely to start after 26th December, the last date for e-filing. "Earlier the returns were filed manually. But as e-filing has been made mandatory, we could now easily reconcile the filings with our records to find out who have stopped filing the returns," a Revenue Department official said. The official said the date of e-filing for half yearly return has been extended as trade could get enough time to adjust to the requirement of e-filing. The Revenue Department is trying to locate 9 lakh business entities that have stopped filing service tax returns, with a view to improving collections and to ascertain whether there is any tax evasion. The Department is faced with a task of collecting nearly Rs 90,000 crore service tax this fiscal.
The Budget target for service tax collection was Rs82,000 crore for the fiscal, but now it has been increased by 10%. There are 15 lakh registered service tax payers in the country. However, only six lakh service tax payers are filing returns.
When asked why the 9 lakh payers are not filing returns, the official said there could be several reasons. "Obviously one reason could be to evade taxes.
Besides, now there is an exemption from filing returns for entities with turnover of less than Rs10 lakh and also many businesses would have closed down," he said.
The tax, at a rate of 10%, is imposed on about 120 services, like banking, hotel and telephony. However, with the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) the scope of service tax would be widened. Service tax realisation in the fist six months of the fiscal has increased by 35.6% to Rs36,459 crore.