G C Nath gets national awardGobind Chandra Nath, a senior Central Excise official based at Rourkela has brought laurels to the state by receiving excellence award in government sector from the Union Government last week. Incidentally, he is the only officer from eastern India to have received this award for the year 2015-16. Excerpts from an Interview with G C Nath ………

BO : You are the only officer from Odisha to have received excellence award in government sector from the Union Government. What have you done in the Department for which we were picked up by the High Power Committee of Central Board of Excise and Customs for the national award?

GCN : I am the only Superintendent selected for this award for the FY 15-16 not only from Odisha but from the eastern India. The Commissioner of Rourkela Commissionerate Satyendra Kumar Singh recommended my name after taking into consideration my versatile contributions in the field of ACES systems, men management, coordinating abilities with trade and stakeholders, different government agencies of the State and Centre.

(Automation of Central Excise and Service Tax (ACES) is the e-governance initiative by Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance. It is one of the Mission Mode Projects (MMP) of the Govt. of India under National e-Governance Plan (NeGP). It is a software application which aims at improving tax-payer services, transparency, accountability and efficiency in the indirect tax administration in India. This application is a web-based & workflow-based system that has automated all major procedures in Central Excise and Service Tax. In the post-independent era of Indirect Tax administration in India, ACES is the most significant IT-based initiative undertaken that has transformed the way about 18.20 lakh indirect taxpayers transact their business with the department of Central Excise and Service Tax. Being an innovative reform initiative in the indirect tax department, ACES had benefited members of trade, industry and commerce.)

I was also instrumental in explaining legal positions to the gold traders on excise levy, attending regular seminars and workshops on Goods and Service Tax (GST), imparting training on GST to both Central and State officials and reducing pendency of all outstanding works of Rourkela Commissionerate as a whole.

BO : You were also instrumental in ensuring Mahanadi Coal Field to pay Rs 190 crore to the Government of India. How was it possible?

GCN : MCL was collecting stowing charges from its customers as a part of the value. Notices were issued to them by the department demanding duty. As per the direction of the Rourkela Commissioner Satyendra Kumar Singh, I along with other officers persuaded them not to go for litigation, but pay the admitted liabiliity and accordingly they paid the amount of Rs 190 crores. In this regard, I was very much instrumental in explaining the legal positions to them which facilitated the payment.

BO : What was your role in transferring land belonging to RSP to Odisha government?

GCN : Requests were made since 2008-09 to acquire a permanent land from M/s SAIL, Rourkela Steel Plant for the Rourkela Commissionerate headquarter at Rourkela. I have coordinated with state agencies at different stages starting from Additional District Magistrate to Odisha Secretariat and SAIL authorities. As per the existing provisions, Odisha Government agreed to charge the land value at Rs 1.43 crore per acre instead of Rs 7 crore per acre, which resulted in saving of Rs 60 crore by the Government.

BO : How is Goods and Service Tax [GST] going to help Indian economy?

GCN : GST is a multi-dimensional tax reform of indirect tax architecture. It will reduce the cost of the commodities by way of reduction of tax burden, reduce compliance cost bring in transparency, reduce tax man-taxpayer interface and bring overall growth to the economy of the country as a whole.

BO : Are your colleagues geared up to take up the challenges in post-GST implementation in the country possible from July 1, 2017?

G C NathGCN : Yes.

BO : What are the infrastructure bottlenecks in your department?

GCN : From the central government side, there is no infrastructure bottleneck. We are determined to handle the assesses in GST implementation. We are confident that we will come over the challenges post GST.

BO : Business people are wary of your department as it still continues the age-old inspector raj. Do you see any business-friendly move by the department?

GCN : There should not any worries for the stakeholders. In Central Excise side, self assessment is in vogue since 1994. We have got ease of doing business, processes have been rolled out in the department in order to acclimatise the assesses in the GST regime. There will be virtually no interface between taxmen and tax payer. Hence, there should not any worries. In the GST era, paperless transaction has been envisaged which will bring in transparency in all areas.

BO : How has the department leveraged technology to impart confidence among the stake holders?

GCN : We are in the process of reaching out to the members of the trading communities and other stakeholders by way of conducting workshops and seminars. Recently, a mobile app has been launched on 23rd February. We have opened a Seva Kendra in all the Commissionerates and divisional headquarter to address all the problems of the assesses. From 1st of April 2017, the outreach program of GST will be more vigorous.

BO : What are your achievement and regrets so far?

GCN : I have performed my assigned jobs to the best of my ability, knowledge and sincerity. This recognition will give boost to me as well as my colleagues to perform better. My Commissioner Satyendra Kumar Singh has been very instrumental in encouraging all the officers and staff to perform to the best of their abilities. In the last year, our Bhubaneswar Zone propelled by Rourkela Commissionerate stood second in the country in all areas. We hope to continue with the same vigour in the coming days. I do not have any regrets about working pattern of the Department.