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Customs finds revenue targets beyond reach Saturday, September 29, 2001
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
AHMEDABAD: A row has broken out between the Central Board of Direct Taxes and Customs Department in Gujarat over the targets fixed for the state. It has been six months now, and the department here has refused to accept the revenue collection target proposed by the Centre, stating the figure to be "astronomical" and "unachievable".
According to a senior official of the department here, the target collection proposed this time for Gujarat is nearly 40 per cent higher than the last year, which was around Rs 4,600 crore. The previous target, however, could not be achieved by the department despite satisfactory performance in the first three quarters. The reason being the economic lull in the state followed by the January 26 killer quake. The target fell short by about 5.5 per cent as the department could mop up only Rs 4,394 crore.
"There was no indication of an increased domestic demand, which would have boosted imports leading to revenue to the Customs," said a senior official of the department.
Further, the bullion scam involving the Choksi brothers in March this year, also spelt decline in revenue for the department. The Choksis' were the biggest importers of gold in Gujarat and their operations have come to a halt.
"With their arrest, the demand for gold has dropped, as the nationalised banks have stopped importing gold that was done on the basis of demand," says a Customs official stating that the decline in gold import revenue has "come down by almost 65-70 per cent".
However, the department has compensated the decline in the gold import by an unprecedented increase in crude vegetable oil imports, which has yielded fairly high revenue. "The shortfall as in the first five months stands around Rs 200 crore as compared to the corresponding period in the last fiscal year," said a senior official of the department at the Ahmedabad commissionerate. "With the attacks on America, such an inflated target now becomes absolutely unachievable," said the official. The Customs in Gujarat relies heavily on Kandla port, which generates almost 50 per cent of the revenue, and the smaller ports along the coastline of the state.
With the war clouds looming large, the economic activities are further likely to be affected. Under these circumstances, the department feels even maintaining last year's performance in revenue collection would be difficult, leave alone raising revenue substantially.
News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]