Wednesday, June 1, 2011

E-Sugam is self-policing


S Srinivasan, in his recent article “Out of the (Pandora’s) box?”, had called the e-Sugam scheme of the Commercial Taxes Department of the government of Karnataka ‘amateurish’. His opinion appears to stem out of lack of understanding about the objectives with which the scheme is devised. It is devised to replace the old system of obtaining Delivery Notes from the assessing authority’s office, which consumed considerable time and effort. E-Sugam has been functioning for almost a year now and the efficiency of the connectivity has not been a problem, and even if there are hick-ups, it is only momentary. One of the objectives of introducing e-Sugam is to ensure that no unauthorised person inspects any goods vehicle and that there should not be any bedlam created at the check-posts. The Department has taken trade bodies into confidence all along and is responsive to their genuine problems. Every clarification that is sought and every query that was raised has been responded to positively and this has created a sense of confidence in the dealer community.

In order to make e-Sugam easy for even the uneducated, m-Sugam facility is also introduced, by which e-Sugam number can be generated through a cell phone. Anyone can feed transactions into the phone that would get transmitted to a designated phone number at which the e-Sugam number gets generated and conveys it back to the person who fed the said information. E-Sugam forces dealers to account their transactions correctly and is mandatory for bills having value in excess of R20,000. Let’s not forget that the tax amount involved in a bill of that order is about R3,000. The tax is peoples’ money. Both the Department and the traders are accountable to people for the tax collected. E-Sugam facilitates this.

We hold all our dealers in high esteem. The author could have been more charitable in describing the new system. This description of e-Sugam as amateurish and bureaucratic is far from truth. E-Sugam may have caused hardships to those handful of dealers who were not accounting their transactions. For dealers who honestly pay their taxes, the new system is a blessing.

—Pradeep Singh Kharola Commissioner of Commercial Taxes (Karnataka), Bangalore

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