The district administration is planning to invoke sections 65 and 44 of the Kerala Revenue Recovery Act to tackle the declining tax revenue in the district.
Most of the districts in the state, including cash-rich Ernakulam, have reported a slow progress in revenue collection in the first quarter of this fiscal. Geetha K, a senior official associated with revenue recovery, said that the administration is forced to invoke section 65, which is considered as the last resort by revenue officials for recovery proceedings.
Section 65 gives power to arrest tax violators and is used traditionally, when all other ways are found to be futile. Section 44 gives authority to revenue officials to attach the property of the violators that is transferred to close relatives or friends. Many of the violators are believed to transfer property in a suspicious manner.
The administration also utilises the services of online facilities to speed up procedures. It has been pointed out that traditional paper work causes considerable delay in the process. The collector is convening a meeting of senior revenue officials to accelerate the process. A meeting of the Kanayannur tahasildar and other revenue officials in the taluk headquarters was convened on October 14 to discuss various strategies, in this regard.
Similarly, separate meetings of officials in other taluks have also been planned. Ernakulam division sales tax deputy commissioner Jacob John and Mattanchery division deputy commissioner Suchetha L said that their department is accelerating procedures for tax collection. A video conference meeting conducted by the revenue principal secretary, which was attended by the senior revenue officials in the state and districts, had evaluated that revenue collection has considerably decreased. In the last fiscal, Ernakulam had topped in the state for collecting maximum tax revenue. According to estimates, the district has so far collected one third of the total target.
In the last fiscal, `12,394 crore was collected from Ernakulam as revenue. The government has fixed the target for this fiscal at `15,740 crore. The sales tax department is entrusted with the collection of most of the revenue from the district.