More than 1,000 employees have been boycotting work since Feb 19

Indore: Ongoing strike of officers and employees has hit VAT and State Goods and Service Tax (SGST) tax collection. Even the GST help desk has remained non-functional since February 19.

Though the entire GST regime, including payment of tax, is online, liquor and petroleum products are still under the VAT regime. Tax recovery in disputed cases is carried out by department’s inspectors.

SGST officers and inspectors are mainly responsible for tax collection. However, both the cadres are on strike since February 19. The strike call has been given by three unions of SGST employees, including SGST Officers, SGST Inspectors and taxation assistant. All together total number of employees on strike is more than 1,000, including 400 posted in the city. As a result, tax recovery has remained paralysed.

Following GST roll out, no target has been fixed for SGST collection. Reason being that the Centre will bear the difference in tax collection on the basis of total collection made in last fiscal. The total collection last year was Rs 27,500 crore, which was more than the given target of Rs 25000 crore.

The striking employees want the state government to end wage anomalies. Ex-state president of Assistant SGST Officers Union PL Kharte said, “We have been forced to go on strike. The finance minister failed to honour the promise made to the three unions.” Last year, the unions had called off their strike on minister’s assurance of fulfilling their demands in next fiscal.

“Following the assurance, we worked hard and collected VAT of Rs 27,500 crore against the target of Rs 25,000 crore,” said Kharte. Talking about the demands, he said, “We are not demanding wage hike but requesting that anomalies in wage vis a vis same cadre of finance department be removed.”

He said that wage revision was done in State Excise department, that too comes under the finance department , but tax collectors were cold shouldered. He said that the state government would have to bear an additional burden of only Rs 6 crore per year by removing the wage anomaly.

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