HYDERABAD: Revenue-earning departments of the state government have caused `1,289 crore loss to the state exchequer, observed the CAG report.
Test check of the records of 320 units of commercial taxes, prohibition and excise, transport, land revenue, stamps and registration and other departmental offices conducted in 2016-17 showed under assessment/short levy/ loss of revenue aggregating to `1,289 crore in 1,553 cases.
Test check of 10 offices of the transport department revealed that 20,163 vehicles were plying without fitness certificates due to lack of alerts in the system and failure of the department to ensure renewal of fitness certificates. This posed risk to public safety besides non-realisation of `51.54 lakh.
The state government had not notified the enhanced fee for second and subsequent offences in the schedule of compounding fee. Low compounding fee for repeated offences allow erring drivers to violate traffic rules, posing risk to life and property. Besides, this lead to non-realisation of compounding fee of `6.05 crores.
The owners of the vehicles were not booked in 15,159 offences for allowing unauthorised persons to drive their vehicles. The loss of revenue towards compounding fee worked out to `1.52 crore. According to the CAG report, bilateral tax and penalty of `2.76 crore was not collected from the owners of 1,330 vehicles registered in Maharashtra and Karnataka. High Security Registration Plates (HSRP) in respect of 2,92,843 new vehicles (42 per cent) were not affixed. The HSRP project had not commenced in respect of 18.41 lakh ‘in-use’ vehicles. Regarding VAT and Central Sales tax, in 24 offices, 28 dealers claimed excess input tax credit (ITC) of `2.72 crore due to adoption of incorrect method of restriction of ITC. In 14 offices, 23 dealers were allowed ITC of `1.55 crore incorrectly on ineligible items. In nine offices, the assessing officials incorrectly allowed ITC of `1.63 crore on work contracts of 11 dealers. Application of incorrect rates of tax resulted in short levy of `35.61 crore. Registration officials collected `10,000 on each document instead of charging 0.5 per cent on the amount secured.
CAG red flags ineffective inspection by GHMC staff
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India observed four functions of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) —Building permissions, property tax, solid waste management and storm water drains.
With reference to building permission clearance by the GHMC, the CAG found that there was no improvement in pending applications, as 212 applications received during 2016-17 were pending.
The Audit found that GHMC Town Planning wing did not take action on constructions with deviations. The absence of records related to deviations in constructions/unauthorised constructions (detected by the Revenue wing) indicate ineffective field inspections by the Town Planning wing. During 2012-17, deviations were noticed in 30,864 assessments (41 per cent) out of 75,387 Property Tax assessments in test-checked circles. Of these, 10,460 were unauthorised constructions.
91% bizmen work without clearance
Disposing of the TRS government’s claims of TS-iPass being a single window approval system, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) said on Thursday that the objective of single point approval was not achieved as the software allowed only selective approvals.
As per TS-iPass Act, an entrepreneur has to submit an application online for clearance with the required fees, for which the online portal interface indicates approvals required from various departments and the respective fees.
The CAG audit found out that the software application did not have options to ensure that entrepreneurs, who want to start business, were applying for all the approvals. Additionally, it also did not provide an option to ‘Apply Later’.
According to the CAG, only 9 per cent of entrepreneurs applied for all approvals while 91 per cent applied for selected approvals. Essential approvals, including PCB (Red and Orange category,) Fire Department, Grama Panchayat NOC were ignored. The system did not even insist on securing additional approvals before issuing consolidated approval.
The CAG pointed out a risk of such units starting operations even without all necessary approvals. The CAG highlighted that the entrepreneurs did not apply for as many as 6,924 required number of approvals. Eventually, the value of prescribed fees for these approvals `9.57 crores was not collected from them.
Additionally, the CAG also observed that there is no tracking mechanism to ensure that the 1,764 units which applied for partial approvals had thereafter established units and commenced operations....