Sunday, December 6, 2009
Assam, a part of the federal India, has been mostly under the political Government excepting the President Rules on three or four
occasions on account of political instability. The congress party ruled the State continuously since 1947 till the early part of 1978 under the
dynamic stewardship of the following august personalities:
1. Lokopriya Gopinath Bordoloi- 1947 to 5th August, 1950
2. Bishnu Ram Medhi- 1950 to 1957
3. Bimala Prasad Chaliha 1957 to 1970
4. Mahendra Mohan Choudhury- 1970 to 1971
5. Sarat Chandra Singha- 1972 to 1978
The Congress party failed to come to the power in 1978 election and the Janata Party, headed by Golap Barbara became the head of the
Government. This government was short-lived. Thereafter, Jogen Hazarika, the Speaker of the Assam Legislative Assembly formed a party under
the banner of Asam Janta Party and became the Chief Minister. After a few days, the said Government fell and Presidents Rule was imposed.
Thereafter, Syeda Anowara Taimur, Keshab Chandra Gogoi of Congress became the Chief Minister of Assam for short periods. Again President
Rule was imposed, which lasted about one year. In order to avert the constitutional crisis, election has held forcibly without the proper mandate of
the people of Assam, Hiteswar Saikia took over the helm of power after such illegal election of1983. Unrest took place in the soil of Assam
following a mass movement led by the All Assam Students Union (AASU) in collaboration with the constituent organizations under the banner of
Gana Sangram Samitee on the sensitive foreigners’ issue. In fact, Assam became a den of the foreign nationals after the cold and silent aggression
of a section of the Bangladesh nationals since after partition of India. It reached to the climax after the liberation movement in East Pakisthan and
creation of Bangladesh, which is still continuing. Almost all the indigenous people of Assam rose to the occasion, but the Government of India did
not care to make immediate solution though there was heavy blood shed. Ultimately, at the behest of Rajib Gandhi, the then Prime Minister
of India a negotiation was made by a treaty titled as ‘Assam Accord’ in the early hours of August, 15th, 1985. The illegally constituted Assam
Assembly was dissolved and a fresh election was held.
The people of Assam voted to power the newly formed Assam Gana Parishad (AGP) led by the AASU with other constituent ingredients of
the Gana Sangram Samittee and the said party took over reign of Asssam on December, 24, 1985 with the AASU leader Prafulla Kumar Mahanta
as the Chief Minister. Their modus operandi, however, disappointed the people of Assam very soon. They could not drive out the foreigners, the
the first and foremost promise projected in the election manifesto. Rampant corruption gained the momentum. A section of the revolutionist with
arm activities started to create the reign of terror. The Government of India had to promulgate the President Rule to overcome the unruly situation.
In the next phase, the Congress Party came to the power under the leadership of Hiteswar Saikia in 1991. This Government was not at all in
favour of driving out the foreign nationals; rather they were keen provide security of the Vote bank, created by the foreigners. After 5 years , the
people overthrew the Congress regime. The AGP party again came to the power. This time, the performances proved to be the worst. People were
constrained to believe that they have been cheated by this regional party since beginning. The Congress party thus again came to the power in
2001election under theleadership of Tarun Gogoi. Congress party was voted to power for the second time in 2006 as well. People of Assam are
well aware of the mal-functioning of this Government, but they had to exercise their franchise in favour of the Congress party, as they found no
other party choice able party was there.The deteriorating law and order situation, high price rise, rampant corruption is gaining the momentum
in this regime. People of Assam are now the silent spectators to all odds. The Assembly election of Assam is knocking at the door. The question
now arises, who will be installed in the power scenario in 2011 election?
In Assam, Congress party is predominating since the beginning. The AGP came to the power scenario like a comet. There had been
disintegration of the party on a number of occasions on power mongering issues. Though, of late, reunited, the party members could not yet give good bye to the internal disputes and differences for the party stability. The confidence of the people has not been restored, which is evident from the numbers of bye-elections., The Lok Sabha poll of 2009 proved all the exercise futile. The Bharatiya Janata Party was, no doubt, an ideal party, but the inner quarrel and conflict has been detrimental to the unity and integrity of the party. The party is also not well organized in Assam and it is yet to strengthen its base yard. The Leftist Parties are also not very much relevant in Assam politics. It has been seen, of late, that the Autonomous Districts, like Karbi Anglong, North Cachar and Bodo Land have their district base and entity and they are capable to influence the political power scenario of Assam to a great extent. The United Democratic Front occupied a sizeable berth in the last State Assembly election. These parties are thus playing the pivotal role in formation of the Government. No forecast is possible at this stage as to the formation of Government in 2011 election by other parties unless they change their style of functioning and are up and doing to gain the confidence of the mass people.
A regional party has a dire necessity to ventilate the will and aspiration of the people and safe guard the regional interest. This is possible, when the peoples’ trust is bestowed upon the party incumbents. The AGP at this moment with the present incumbents seems to be not to the utter choice of the people. The inner party requires a reformation and renovation with fresh bloods, beset with dynamism and integrity. There must be a grass- root organization with constructive works to win the hearts of the people. A section of the veteran leaders are eager to mend the shortfalls and to come up with the new visions with constructive approaches, but it will be possible, when the grass root level is organized properly and systematically and they are keen to remove the economic disparity of the weaker section with constructive outlooks.
(Mrinal Kanti Chakrabartty)
R.G.Barua Road, 10- Lakhimipath
Review on Mrinal Kanti Chakrabartty’s book “Jiwan Darshan” in “ Asomiya Journalist” Magazine (7th Edition December’2009)
Saturday, July 4, 2009
In the British era, the tax measures in the States were adopted under the Government of India Act, 1935. Two tax laws, namely; the Assam Agricultural Income Tax Act, the Assam Sales of Motor Spirit and Lubricants Taxation Act were enacted in 1939 in Assam as the maiden venture to make yield of revenue. The tax law on the sales or purchases of goods - ‘the Assam Sales Tax Act, 1947’ came into force from 24.12.1947 in the post- independent period, while the Assam Finance (Sales Tax) Act, 1956 was enacted by the State Legislatures with the vested power under clause 54 of the State List in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India, The Central Sales Tax Act, 1956, a Government of India Act, came into operation from 5.1.1957 under clause 92A of the Union List in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution. The Central Sales Tax Act, 1956 still remains in force, while the sales tax laws enacted at different times, were repealed and ultimately the birth to the Assam Value Added Tax Act, 2003 took place from 1.05.2005. In fact, the State’s tax resources are generated from nine tax measures with the current tax yield of Rs. 3592.88 against Rs. 2864.44 in 2007-08.
‘Evasion and avoidance of tax are brothers twine’. When there is measure of tax, there is always attempt to evade or avoid tax. The traders try to derive extra fiscal benefits by adopting fraudulent means and thereby indulging the tax dodging activities. Tax collected on the sales or purchases of goods is an indirect one, and the burden of such tax ultimately falls on the consumers. A portion of the sale or purchase is not exposed in the books of accounts and is suppressed with result that the tax due is evaded. With the expansion of trade velocity and trade dimensions, the magnitude of evasion of taxes is gaining the momentum. In the present hi-tech era, the unscrupulous traders use to adopt a unique technique to evade tax through computer devises on which no easy access can be had by the tax machinery. Even odd transactions are removed from the computer at frequent intervals and restored in the C.D. to avoid easy reach of others.
The race of evasion of tax starts at the entry point and ends at the point of sales made to the consumers. Amongst innumerable ways, the import of goods in fake names with fictitious addresses, misclassification of the goods and suppression of sales in fraudulent way are prominently prevalent. A dearth of adequate preventive measures to arrest or avert the multifarious ways of evasion of taxes, has the consequential adverse effect in the revenue generation exercise. The check posts have not been equipped with skilled man- power, requisite amenities, facilities and other allied infrastructure. No compact/ comprehensive platform has been erected for inspection of the goods vehicles, unloading and verification of the goods as well as preserving the seized goods safely in a befitting manner. The lack of the officers’ sincerity, devotion and integrity is another reckoning factor. Pressure or influences at different angles in normal functioning of the officials with some ulterior motive behind, uses to demoralize them. Adequate counter-check in the way side, at the delivery point or at the godown is rarely undertaken. The race thus ends uninterrupted with a negative approach towards the State revenue making the State Coffer an utter victim.
The Value Added Tax (VAT) regime, currently operative in Assam, is a self-designed system of levy of tax with its self -steering wheels. The success in this revenue venture can achieve, only when (i) the traders ensure the correct and accurate maintenance of accounts initially by preserving purchase vouchers, issuing sales invoices, (ii) the interim purchasing traders and the consumers are alert against any foul play in the deals and (iii) the tax machinery keeps proper vigilance on different ways and style adopted for evasion of taxes. Any sloth, lapse or dereliction in maintaining rigidity, harmony, austerity, integrity and transparency, no doubt, pose to be a serious threat to the State revenue generation exercise. The paramount necessity of the day is that the concept of VAT should be made aware to all. The Government of India, of late, is contemplating to replace VAT, by ‘Service and Goods Tax’ from 1st April, 2010. It well construe that there is a ‘but’ in the operative VAT system.
The policy adopted by the Government of India to abolish central sales tax in a phase manner (the 50% of which has already been materialized), is nothing but an act quite detrimental to the revenue interest of the States. The austerity in fiscal discipline has already been cracked and it is likely to be demolished fully, when the policy to do away with the same, is fully implemented. A chaotic condition will be knocking at the door in absence of any liaison or co-ordination maintained in the inter-States deals including stock transfer or export. The scope for levy of consignment tax, as incorporated in the Union List (92B) of the Constitution in 1982, is yet to be implemented by a separate central enactment to avert or prevent any fake stock transfer.
within the ambit and competence. The taxing authorities, as appointed by the Government to assist the Commissioner are well competent to decide the merit of any such pertinent question of law and any imposition made at any corner on the statutory power exercise scenario seems to be an overlapping of jurisdiction or intervening of the powers. The unfortunate part of thing is that even though the Commissioner is said to have directed the taxing authorities to imposed VAT on purchases of Flat with a retrospective effect from May, 2005, that is, from the date of coming into force of the VAT Law in Assam, he has not equipped the taxing authorities, namely; the Assistant Commissioners of Taxes and the Superintendents of Taxes to exercise the powers for registration of the dealers liable to pay tax under the VAT Law, to make assessments of tax to the dealers (except the power of self- assessment) and other allied important powers in the day to day administrative scenarios. The officers, on the other hand, are either without having being unaware of this vital requirements or without being conscious at all on the consequential effect on such unvested power exercise, keen to exercise such unvested powers in the course of their routine course of action presumably without any conviction of mind that the whole administrative system will be paralyzed. When it is well settled from the above concept of law that Flat is not a moveable property and out side the definition of goods, the scope for levy of tax on Flat purchase is not there.
The definition of goods, inter-alia’ laid down that all materials (whether as goods or in other forms) involved in execution of works contract are goods. If the construction of Flats are constructed through the contractors, naturally, the transfer of property in goods involved in such works contract is covered by the definition of sale, which has its obvious Constitutional footings with proper authority of law and the levy of tax on such goods is well attracted. The promoter of the Flats, however, generally come up with strong plea that they construct the Flats out of their own and the question of execution of works contract does not crop up. The actual state of affairs will come to the light on the nature of contract in course of scrutiny and examination of the contract deeds executed between the land ‘owner and the promoter’ and ‘the promoter and the flat purchasers’. It can not be fully agreed that the promoters alone play the pivotal role in the entire Flat construction exercise and there may be some agencies as well to act as contractors. That will be a product of investigation and vigilance. The taxing authorities, it is presumed have the access to some investigation and vigilance.
The materials used or utilized in connection with the construction of Flat are, no doubt, out of the purchases made locally or in the course of inter-State trade or commerce. The taxing authorities have the power to examine the documents and evidences to ascertain whether VAT has been charged against such purchases of goods by the sellers to proceed with as part of duty to ensure charging, payment and levy of tax properly, when such purchased of materials relates to within the State of Assam. If any such goods, covered by the Schedule of the Assam Entry Tax Act, 2008 are purchased from places out side the State of Assam for use or consumption, the taxing authorities have full power to undertake operation in the matter of deciding the liabilities under the said Act and to ensure proper levy and collection of tax. The taxation laws have provided ample powers to the taxing authorities, but such powers are to be exercised within the frame-work of law. Any powers exercised arbitrarily beyond the ambit and competence invites controversy and naturally a catastrophe in the revenue earning exercise becomes inevitable.
(Mrinal Kanti Chakrabartty)
R.G. Barua Road, 10-Lakhimipath,Guwahati-781024
Friday, June 19, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
verses of Sree Sree Madbhagawat Geeta. Action in human life comes to an end, when one
breaths his last.
Please click here http://sites.google.com/site/rupamsite/karma
Please click here http://sites.google.com/site/rupamsite/vat-byabastha
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Mrinal Kanti Chakrabartty
“Rudra Bhawan”R.G. Barua Road, 10-Lakhimipath,Guwahati-781024
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
(Mrinal Kanti Chakrabarty)10, Lakhimi Path, R.G. Barua RaodGuwahati – 781024, India98642-01694 (M)
VAT is a multiple system of tax leviable at every stage of sales of goods made by a dealer, subject to credit of input tax paid at the time of previous purchase of the goods. ‘Input tax’ and ‘Output tax’ are one and the same thing. The tax paid by the purchaser to the seller is input tax, while the tax realised by the seller from the purchaser and paid to the Govt. is output tax. A controversy is prevalent as to whether ‘Works Contract and Lease’ are VAT Commodities and the taxability on such item come under the purview of VAT tax-net.Following a number of litigations and the Apex Court decisions against levy of the tax on Works Contract and Lease, the Constitution of India was amended in 1982 and ‘the transfer of property in goods involved in ‘Works Contract’ and ‘the transfer of right to use any good without transfer of ownership’ have been brought under the purview of the definition of ‘Sales of goods’. The problem thus got a halt and tax on such transfer of property in goods and transfer of right of goods was well being levied under the Assam General Sales Tax Act, 1993. With the introduction of the Assam Value Added Tax Act, 2003, the basic principle of levy of tax, which has been discussed above, the levy of tax ‘Works Contract’ and ‘Lease’ has become irrelevant in as much as the ‘Works Contract and Lease’ maintain their independent entity and separate bearing. The multiple system of sales clockwise or stage wise in such deal become irrelevant. The VAT Act mainly dwelt in the basic principle of levy of tax on every goods at every stage of sale. It has not accommodated the principle of levy of tax on ‘the transfer of property in goods’ involved in ‘Works Contract’ and the ‘transfer of right to use any goods involved in Lease. There ought to have a provision dispensing with the main theme of VAT so as to accommodate this extra-ingredients in the tax-net of Assam. The scope for levy of tax under the VAT Act has been specified in the Schedule attached to the Act along with the category of taxable goods not specified in other Schedules of the Act with the broad term ‘Works Contract’ and ‘Lease’. The basic principle of levy of tax has not been accommodated. ‘Works Contract’ and ‘Lease’ are not the goods and the concept of levy of tax on ‘Works Contract’ and ‘Lease’ seem to be a deviation from the main spirit and intention of levy of tax on the sales of goods in the VAT ideology.Assuming, but not admitting that the legislatures, while incorporating such measure of tax on ‘Works Contract’ and ‘Lease’, intending to levy tax on the transfer of property in goods involved in Works Contract and on the transfer of right to use such goods involved in lease, the rates of tax specified in Schedule at 12.5 paise in the rupee, is not at par with the rate of commodity-wise tax, specified in the other Schedules of the Act. For instance, the rate of tax on the sales of declared goods is always 4 paise in the rupee and it can not exceed the rate declared by the Govt. of India by enactment of the Central Sales Act, 1996 under the authority of the Constitution of India. Pipes of all varieties, pumps, tractors, ships vessels and many other allied articles, pertaining to ‘Works Contracts’ and ‘Lease’ do not have the rate of tax beyond 4 paise in the rupee. Naturally, there has been strong clash between the rate of the tax specified at 12.5 paise involved in ‘Works Contract’ and ‘Lease’ and the rate of tax of goods specified in the Schedules of the same VAT Act. There can not be double rate of tax on the same commodity for the purpose of ‘Plain Sale’ or ‘Sale in the course of Works Contract’ as well as the alleged sales on ‘Lease’. Obviously, discrimination has been well maintained in tax-net scenario under the VAT Act of Assam.The VAT law in Assam provided the measure of Composition of tax on works contract to be exercised by the works contractors at their own option in dispensing with the requirements of making payment of tax on the sales element under the VAT Act. The rate of tax payable as Composition of tax under such Scheme has been specified at 4 paise in the rupee on the gross value of ‘Works Contract’. Apparently, this is abusive of the principle of levy of tax, as enumerated in the Constitution read with the definition of VAT Act.A transfer of property in goods involved in ‘Works Contract’ is liable to be taxed. A tax is leviable on the taxable commodities and not on the exempted ones. Moreover, labour charges, transport charges and other allied charges involved on the works contract can not be brought under the purview of taxability.Transfer of right to use any goods in connection with lease is not a permanent sale of good. It is casual deal without maintaining any continuity. A lease deal on the same commodity may be frequent on the expiry of the specified period of time, but it may not be on chain system. This has provided scope for levy of tax on the same item leased without any scope for any credit of input tax. The legislatures have not specified the items to be taxed on lease and the levy of tax on lease has been made wide and open. It may naturally have an adverse effect to the lessesors and lessee when to be taxed on small deals of lease. No ‘taxable quantum’ has also been specified on lease deals. A confusion always prevail over the question of ‘Hire’ and ‘Lease’, as it has not been well analysed in the system. In absence of that creation of confusion to the dealer and exercise of powers by the taxing authority arbitrarily can not be ruled out in the matter.Our above projection explaining the propriety of taxability in ‘Works Contract’ and ‘Lease’ ought not to have incorporated in the VAT Act of Assam, which maintain a separate aim and object with separate way of functioning. On the other hand, the levy of tax on transfer of property in goods involved Works Contract and transfer of right to use good on lease can not be given a good bye, as a substantial amount of tax revenue pours into the state coffer annually.A separate enactment of law is considered to be imperative for the sake of better tax administration vis-à-vis proper augmentation of revenue of the State without any scope of disputes or controversy.
(Mrinal Kanti Chakrabarty)
10, Lakhimi Path,
R.G. Barua Raod
Guwahati – 781024, India