In a move to ensure participation by employees of all levels to improve functioning and boost revenue collection, the Punjab excise and taxation department has asked all its staff members -- from peons to additional commissioner -- to pitch in ideas, promising rewards.
The aim of the 'Motivating the Employees Scheme, 2014' is to "dig out" innovative ideas from employees including those on the lower rungs of the organisational hierarchy.
"It has been felt that employees working at the lower levels have a number of ideas for improving the functioning of the department and there is a need to give them a sense of ownership and to tap their ideas," according to the scheme.
The scheme invites ideas about minimising the interface between the dealers and the department, making the functioning of the department dealer-friendly and boosting the revenues with minimum litigation and minimum inconvenience to dealers.
Confirming the introduction of this scheme, Punjab Excise and Taxation Commissioner Anurag Verma told PTI, "In normal practice, decisions are taken by the top management. But we thought the lower level officials may also have good ideas for improving the department's functioning and increasing revenue. So we thought why not to tap their ideas."
The department has set a target of Rs 22,360 crore tax revenue comprising VAT and excise in financial year 2014-15, up from Rs 20,749 crore in 2013-14, Verma said.
The best idea will get Rs 1 lakh and the second best idea will be given Rs 50,000. An award evaluation committee will judge the submissions on the basis of "innovativeness, practicability, dealer friendliness, revenue potential, plugging revenue leakage and curbing tax evasion."
In the first phase, employees have been asked to submit their ideas by December 31, Verma said, adding the department has a total staff strength of about 2,000 including peons and excise and taxation inspectors.
There are more than two lakh dealers and traders under tax ambit in Punjab. And many of them have accused the department of "harassing" and "extracting" money from them.
"We want to change the wrong perceptions of the traders about the department," said Verma, adding this scheme would also "help us plug revenue leakage, if any."