Income Tax 04 Feb,2020
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BUDGET 2020: Promising Seamless Delivery Through Digital Governance
Jiger SaiyaPartner & Leader/ Tax and Regulatory Services

With an aim to simplify governance and introduce transparency and accountability in the system, the Central Government has increased emphasis on use of digital modes for administration as well as compliance. Post formulation of the national e-governance plan, various e-governance initiatives such as Digital India, Aadhar, Umang, Digital Locker, computerisation of land records have been launched.

Several proposals in the recently presented Union Budget furthers the agenda of digital governance.

  ■  The Hon'ble Finance Minister(FM) proposed to launch a scheme for exporters this year to reimburse taxes and duties paid by them.

  ■  Under the GST regime, exporters of goods & services as well as suppliers to SEZ units will receive refunds automatically as the government has introduced faceless scrutiny of refunds to enable faster claim settlement. The government will also introduce dynamic QR-code for consumer invoices which will carry certain GST parameters. Electronic invoice is another innovation wherein critical information shall be captured electronically in a centralised system from this month onwards on optional basis, thus facilitating compliance and return filing.

 ■  In addition to the faceless e-assessment scheme launched last year, the budget also proposed to introduce electronic filing of appeals and penalty proceedings under the IT Act.

 ■  In order to further ease the process of allotment of PAN, the FM has proposed to launch a system under which PAN shall be instantly allotted online on the basis of Aadhaar without any requirement for filling up of a detailed application form.

 ■  Similarly, to boost the use of digital payment methods, the FM has raised the turnover limit for applicability of tax audit by five times to INR 05 crore for businesses which carry out less than 5% of their transactions in cash.

 ■  Electronic toll collection through FASTags has increased commercialisation of highways. The FM announced that NHAI will monetise at least 12 more highway stretches spread over 6,000 km of highways, through FASTag mechanism.

 ■  The government also equipped more than six lakh anganwadi workers with smart phones to upload the nutritional status of more than 10 crore households.

 ■  The proposed new National Policy on Official Statistics would use latest technology including AI to lay down a road-map towards modernised data collection, integrated information portal and timely dissemination of information.

Increasing use of electronic platforms to exchange information and communication with citizens, businesses and internal administrations is helping the government develop an environment of transparency, accountability, trust and inclusive governance. Digital delivery is assisting in quick implementation, reduced corruption, greater convenience and reduced costs. With constant and automated monitoring and use of AI, the government is focused on arresting non-compliance and increase tax revenues. In the words of PM Modi, "e-governance is easy governance, e-governance is economical governance".