Statement of Object and reasons behind Etrip in Punjab now disclosed by the Government
Few days back I had written an article namely “Etrip in Punjab-an Uncontrolled delegated legislation” in which I had raised a point that while giving discretionary power to the Commissioner to specify the goods for the purpose of Etrip certain policy should or guidelines should have been laid down according to which the Commissioner has to exercise its power to specify the goods for the purpose of E trip under Rule 2(hh) read with rule 64-A and rule 64-B of Punjab VAT Rules, 2005.
Now on the official website of the Excise and Taxation Department, Punjab Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2013 has been uploaded along with the statement of reasons and objects which now clarifies the reasons behind implementation of Etrip in Punjab. At the time when I wrote the above named article said objects and reasons were not made available to the public at the official website of the Department.
Relevant portion of such statement is produced herein-below:
“Currently under the Punjab VAT Act, 2005 inter-state transactions made by the registered dealers are recorded at the information collection centers established by the Government. However, there is no provision for recording of huge number of intrastate transactions made by traders/taxable persons in Punjab. Taking undue advantage of this, many persons evade Tax by deleting/destroying the bills after the goods reach the destination. This not only causes huge loss to state revenue but also creates unhealthy competition to honest Tax payers. To check this malpractice, the Department after considering the policies adopted by some States and also taking suggestions of traders and manufacturers of Punjab has decided to introduce e-trip in Punjab for recording the intrastate transactions also. For this necessary software has been developed. Under the e-trip system the traders shall be required to upload the information regarding intrastate transactions above a particular value on the departmental website. For this purpose there is a need to insert section 3-A and amend the sections 2 and 51 of Punjab Vat Act, 2005.”
Thus this reasons and objects clarifies that Commissioner have to exercise the power of implementing Etrip under the Provisions of section 3-A of Punjab VAT Act, 2005 which runs as under:
“Section 3-A: Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act or the rules make thereunder, the commissioner may be an order with the approval of the State of electronic Government, implement electronic governance for carrying out the governance. various provisions of this Act and the rules made thereunder.”
Electronic Governance has been defined u/s 2(jj) as under:
“electronic governance” means the use of electronic medium for,-
(i) filing of any form, return, application, declaration or any other document;
(ii) creation, retention or preservation of records ;
(iii) issue or grant of any form including statutory forms, orders and certificates; and
(iv) . receipt of tax, interest, penalty or ay other payment or refund of the same through Government treasury or authorized banks.”.
Thus from the above statement of object and reasons it can be concluded that provisions of Etrip i.e Rule 64-A, 64-B and 64-C have been made u/s 3-A of Punjab VAT Act, 2005, as it is stated that for the purpose of etrip there is need to insert section 3-A.
It follows therefrom that Commissioner before exercising its power relating to implementation of Etrip has to take prior approval of the State Government as per the provisions of section 3-A.
The reasons behind implementing Etrip on specified goods in the Statement of object and reasons have also been clarified, which should be considered as guideline while exercising the power relating to etrip by the executive. It would be more appropriate if the criterias for specifying the goods, the transition time and the monetary limit for etrip be disclosed to the general public.