GUWAHATI, May 1 - The Assam government will continue with its fight against corruption in a more vigorous way in the days to come. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said this on Saturday while launching ‘Excise Online’, a web portal of the State Excise department and ceremonially flagging off 62 vehicles, which will be pressed into service by the field staff of the department for carrying out operations against violations of excise laws.
The Chief Minister quoted a report of the Centre for Media Studies and commented that due to relentless efforts of the State government, corrupt practices have substantially gone down in the State from 34 per cent in 2005 to 18 per cent in 2017.
Sonowal termed this achievement as the result of a collective initiative of the people of Assam and exhorted the staff of the excise department to embolden the ‘Team Assam’ spirit to build a better and prosperous Assam.
“Corruption results from our failure to eschew worldly temptations. Allurements may come in different forms, but if we could contain our desires, it is possible to stop corruption,” Sonowal said, adding that the State government’s fight against corruption would continue vigorously in the days to come. In the same breath, he also appreciated the excise department for achieving a record increase of revenue collection of 20.8 per cent and urged the excise staff to work for dispelling the negative image commonly associated with the department.
The Chief Minister also lauded the initiative of the excise department for taking the ‘Digital India’ movement further and stated the online initiative would bolster administrative functioning and bring more transparency. He also stressed the need to establish a quality maintenance legacy for ensuring longer life of the vehicles commissioned for government duty and asked the field staff of the excise department to take good care of the vehicles flagged off on Saturday.
During the past few months, the excise department has effected many revolutionary changes, important amongst which include the enactment of Assam Excise Act, 2000 repealing the archaic Assam Excise Act, 1910 and enforcement of Assam Excise Rules, 2016, scrapping the Assam Excise Rules, 1945. Such measures have resulted in substantial growth of revenue collection amounting to Rs 970 core during 2016-17, which is Rs 171 crore more than the revenue earned during the previous financial year. Further, the department has reduced renewal fee of excise licence for retail outlets from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 1 lakh and for wholesalers from Rs 30 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.
State Excise Minister Parimal Suklabaidya also spoke on the occasion.