e-CST: MSTD’s Initiative for Online Issuance of Statutory Forms under CST Act
Sales Tax Department, Maharashtra

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Problems identified with earlier system of issuing CST declarations: •There was considerable delay in issuing CST declarations. In some cases the time taken to issue declarations was around 45 days. •There was no clarity about parameters to be verified by officers before issuing CST declarations. •The officers have to access various modules of automation system to complete verification. •After approval some time was taken for printing. The office staff used to do some manual errors while printing the declarations. Also the sometimes delivery was delayed by postal department. •The dealers had to handle physical forms carefully. There were cases of loss, destruction of physical forms. In such cases procedure to obtain duplicate forms was cumbersome. This was causing delay in issuing declarations to dealers. Delay in issuance of CST forms may have severe implications to a dealer like: •Erosion of capital due to additional tax liability •Loss of credibility amongst the dealer community •Increased cost of compliance.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
Objectives of the eCST Initiative The eCST initiative was primarily aimed at improving the service quality of the dealers however there were various constraints under which the system had to work. Therefore, the eCST initiative was aimed at achieving the following objectives: •Drastically reduce the TAT and issue the declaration on T+1 day •Eliminate visits of the dealers to Sales Tax office to obtain declarations •Bring complete transparency in the process •Provide system based Decision Support System to reduce time taken for decision making •Remove ambiguity about parameters to be verified and discretion in the verification process. •Implement the module to deliver service at the doorsteps of the dealer •Save cost and manpower for dealers as well as Govt. All the above was to be achieved within the capabilities of the existing system. An ideal solution was to be launched with the Complete IT Automation project in 2016, but with the eCST initiative, interim relief was to be given to all stakeholders. Through the eCST initiative the MSTD has passed on these, tangible benefits to its entire population of 5,95,584 registered dealers under the CST act.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
Following innovation features has been implemented for dealers to make their process easy. -Online compliance facility -Dealer can view defect memo online -Online status tracking -Online digital CST form creation -Digital signatures Certificate are used to validate the forms.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
To ensure a successful rollout the eCST project, the following transition & rollout plan was created and executed: •Communication was sent to Dealers on the Portal suggesting new eCST module will be rolled out soon. To ensure that dealers can wait for new system and not apply for forms on the old system. •Old System was kept operational to ensure dealers are not denied service at any point in time. •Communication sent to other states, Performed necessary Amendments in the CST Rules, Issued Trade Circulars, Created User Manual for Dealers & MSTD Officers and Complete Trainings for MSTD end-users. •Roll-out of New System while ensuring the old system does not receive any new Requests. Special care was taken to avoid duplicate issuance of forms. •For the first month additional work force was deployed to ensure CRO backlog was cleared.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
Total 3 stack holders was involved in this project namely 1. Sales Tax Department 2. M/S ECIL 3. M/S Mastek. Responsibilities of stack holder are as below 1. Sales Tax Department – Department has defined the process and done the feasibility study and Impact analysis. Testing & verification of services once the system got ready. Over all monitoring of this project 2. M/s ECIL - Application development (e-Services), testing, maintenance and support. IT infrastructure management 3. M/S Mastek - Application development (back end application for department), testing, maintenance and support.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
This project was developed on BOOR (Built Own Operate and Replace) model. This project relieved the department from technical and human resources’ costs, buying and maintaining hardware and helped to concentrate on core function i.e. tax administration. This project is funded by government of India under MMP-CT mission mode project.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
Overall benefits of the new eCST module as below Average time to issue form Old System -Avg. 45 Days New System -Avg. T+1 day Forms delivery Old System -Physical form delivery New System -Digital form Delivery Average cost of From Delivery Old System -Rs. 30 Per form New System -Digital form No of Forms delivery per month Old System -~1.40 Lakh New System -~1.70 Lakh No of Man power involved Old System -More than 150 New System -Less than 100 Avg. Number of visits to department Old System -Min. 3 New System -0 Through the eCST initiative the MSTD has passed on these, tangible benefits to its entire population of 5,95,584 registered dealers under the CST act. The department dispenses almost 24 Lakh forms every year, savings from courier and physical form stationary alone would translate to over Rs. 7 crore every year.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
Manual monitoring and evaluation is in place

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
The entire project was roll out with proper planning and monitoring. There was no major obstacles during the project development & implementation phase.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
Steps in the process - Verification Old system - Manual and required visiting multiple screens at a time. Time consuming New system - System generated Single Page Verification Report available to officers Benefits in new module - Faster and Accurate decision making. Substantial reduction in time and efforts. Steps in the process - Printing Old system - Physical forms printed. New system - Printing not required. Benefits in new module - 100 % time saving. Steps in the process - Dispatch (Making entries in registers for dispatches) Old system - Entries in register required. New system - Not required. Benefits in new module - 100 % time saving. Steps in the process - Return dockets Old system - Efforts for tracking and follow-up New system - Not required. Benefits in new module - 100 % time saving. Steps in the process - Issue resolution for Dealers Old system - Daily afternoon hrs of officers were taken up. New system - No dealers visits Benefits in new module - No dealer visits Through the eCST initiative the MSTD has passed on these, tangible benefits to its entire population of 5, 95, 584 registered dealers under the CST act. The department dispenses almost 24 Lakh forms every year, savings from courier and physical form stationary alone would translate to over Rs. 7 crore every year.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
SUSTAINABILITY OF INITIATIVE Portal is designed based on open standards and in line with overall system requirements, in order to provide for good interoperability with multiple platforms and avoid any technology or technology provider lock-in. Department portal is by and large technology and platform independent. It is compatible with open standards. Portal supports the data encryption. We have implemented the same to critical modules like online payment. Shortly we would be implementing to rest of the modules. We are already using DSCs for e_CST Forms. One of the objectives of this initiative is to plug the leakages in Revenue through fake physical CST forms. This problem has been eliminated by way of issuing digital forms which could be validated with Digital Signatures on web portal. With objective criteria for adjudication of request forms (SORs), the system has ensured most of the revenue leakages are curbed. The system has also allowed the MSTD to save Rs. 30/- per CST form on Secure Stationary, Postage, etc. A rough estimate shows that there is annual saving of about Rs. 7 Crores. Transferable - The initiative can be replicated by other commercial tax departments in India. But direct replication has not happened yet. This is because every commercial tax department has its own processes and policies for administration of commercial tax in their state. However, many commercial tax departments have visited our eGovernance project to study the initiatives and our initiatives are being used as benchmarks for their projects (Uttarakhand, Orissa, Tamilnadu and Karnataka etc. commercial tax departments had visited the MSTD for bench marking study.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
Eliminate subjectivity and facilitate complete transparency from the citizen’s and department’s perspective •Rather than working towards an ideal system which may not be feasible, one must strive to work within the constraints of resources and time to deliver the most optimal result to ease the burden on citizens. •If the benefits are clearly communicated to all stakeholders a system is bound to achieve quick acceptability and will deliver immediate benefits. The entire project was roll out with proper planning and monitoring. There was no major obstacles during the project development & implementation phase.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Sales Tax Department, Maharashtra
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Vikas Kulkarni
Title:   IT Head  
Telephone/ Fax:   022-23760793
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   kulkarni.vikas@mahavat.gov.in  
Address:   731,7th Floor, Vikrikar Bhavan,Mazgaon
Postal Code:   400010
City:   Mumbai
State/Province:   Maharashtra
Country:  

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