Tribune News Service | Ambika Sharma | Solan,January 28

The State Taxes and Excise Department (STED) has failed to regulate and set up an excise policy to check inter-state and intra-state smuggling and illicit liquor trade. The measure was supposed to strengthen field enforcement units to check illicit liquor trade, which causes revenue losses to the state exchequer.

Even a provision of the World Bank-funded trace and track IT-enabled project, which also figures in the policy, for better regulation of liquor bottling units has not been introduced. The desired targets of the World Bank-funded Himachal Pradesh Public Financial Management Capacity Building Programme for excise have not been achieved. The programme is aimed at digitisation of excise administration, including all liquor manufacturing and bottling plants, by plugging revenue losses. No targets have been achieved till now as per the implementation status and the results report accessed by The Tribune. The state has, therefore, failed to secure the financial aid of more than Rs 5 crore due to tardy implementation.

Even restructuring of the department, which includes separation of the excise and GST wings, has been pending for years.

More than 100 inspectors and 10 assistant commissioners, who were spared from various inter-state multi-purpose barriers, could have been utilised for the job. The inter-state barriers were discontinued to allow seamless flow of goods after the introduction of the e-way bill system under the GST.
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