Srinagar: In a bid to enter e-governance, the excise and taxation department in Jammu and Kashmir has started the automation process to deliver 17 services online from next financial year, Excise Commissioner Talat Parvez Rohella said Monday.
A mega plan is underway to ensure hassle free clearance of goods at Lakhanpur toll plaza, gateway to Jammu and Kashmir from Punjab, with the introduction of online payment system.
The Lakhanpur toll plaza generates Rs 1,000 crore revenue annually.
“The phase-wise automation has been set into motion to replace the manual work with electronic operations. We are in the process of providing 17 services online in a time-bound manner from the next financial year,” Rohella told PTI here.
He said the services, which would be provided online, include applications for registration, renewal of licenses, issuance of permits, excise duty payment, toll payment, social occasion permission, tracking status of applications and clearance from different departments.
Automation is planned to provide the public an electronic interface with the department and aims to reduce paper work, visits to the departmental offices and improve transparency, accountability and efficiency.
The front-end of the automation plan will be launched this month under which the 17 services would be notified this week itself, he said.
“From next financial year, the new applicants and others who need to avail any service with the department have to come through online mode only,” the officer added.
The manual process of office work will be replaced within a year.
The department is planning to introduce online payment system and cashless transactions to ensure hassle-free clearance of goods at Lakhanpur toll plaza, Rohella said.
“We are providing handheld POS machines to the staff at the plaza to ensure payment through credit and debit cards as well,” he noted.
On traders’ demand for abolishment of the toll tax at Lakhanpur in view of implementation of GST in the state, he said it is imperative to safeguard the local industry and also to generate revenue to provide better facilities.
“Our state is consumer state and as long as the two reasons remain there, we have to continue with this practice,” he said.
The commissioner said under section five of the state constitution, the government has the powers to impose levy on goods other than the GST. The Constitution of India also empowers the states to levy any tax, other than GST, under schedule seven.
“We do not have resources as we do not implement property tax, wealth tax, municipal tax and even our electricity cost is less compared to other states. The Lakhanpur toll plaza supports our budget as Rs 1,000 crore is generated annually which help the government to provide facilities to the people,” he said.
Secondly, he said the industries which operate here do not get raw material locally and they have to import it from outside the state.
“When they produce finished goods here they need protection as our industry cannot compete with neighbouring states like Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh where the raw material is easily available and the industrialists enjoy concession on electricity,” he added.
The department is also keeping a close watch in the areas bordering Punjab to stop illegal smuggling of various goods, including cement from the neighbouring state.
“We have apprehended some people who were trying to smuggle cement through riverbed routes into the state. We are keeping a vigil round-the-clock to ensure that the smugglers do not succeed,” he said.
He said the cement manufacturers in other states have added advantage compared to Jammu and Kashmir.
“We have to bring everything, from costly machinery to raw material, from outside and our cement industry cannot compete with neighbouring states, which get the raw material locally and can lower the rates at will. The toll plaza works as an advantage for the local industry,” he said.