Meghalaya’s budget estimate is ‘unrealistic’: audit report

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) found that the budget estimate prepared by the government of Meghalaya was “not realistic”.

In its report for the revenue sector up to March 31, 2020, the audit report also revealed that the state government lost more than Rs 1,160 crore in revenue due to understatements and other factors.

The GAC report was tabled by the Chief Minister of Meghalaya, Conrad Sangma, on the last day of the September 16 autumn session.

“The audit of records on sale, trade, etc., state excise, motor vehicle tax, forestry revenue and other non-tax revenue conducted during the year 2019-2020 has revealed understatement/short/non-levy/loss in no less than 498 cases equating to revenue loss of 1,166.89 crore or 48.19% of state tax revenue for 2019- 2020,” the audit report revealed.

Department of Taxation, Mining and Geology, Forestry and Environment, State Excise and Transportation accepted understatement/short/non-levy/loss of revenue of Rs 376.97 crore in 293 cases reported by the CAG in 2019-20, but the recovery was only Rs 12.81 crore.

The audit also noted that revenue-generating departments had weak internal controls to detect understatements, underpayments, tax evasion, fees, charges, and other irregularities.

“There was no system in place to actively exchange information and coordinate across departments for cross-checking records to detect illegal transportation of minerals, evasion of royalties, excise duties, etc. “, underlines the report.

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