-by Mohit Dubey
Lucknow, 14 February 2017: Uttar Pradesh’s revenue has taken a big hit — first due to demonetization and now because most government employees are out on election duty.
Officials in the concerned departments fear that the revenue targets for the current fiscal might take a knock of 25-30 per cent.
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The Sales Tax Department, an official told IANS, has seen a drop in collections in the past three months.
While it earned Rs 4,494 crore in tax in November, the collection slipped in December and is set to go down further in January and February due to engagement of employees and officials in election duty.
The Excise Department, the cash cow, has also taken a beating in revenue collection. An official said that as against a target of Rs 1,443 crore in December, the collection was down at Rs 1,345 crore.
With elections for the 403-seat Uttar Pradesh assembly underway, even sale of liquor has fallen, partly because of strictures from the Election Commission.
The stamp and registration revenue target was Rs 12,130 crore but has been downsized in a big way, with collections dropping to Rs 9,222 crore.
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The target for this month has been scaled down to Rs 13,953 crore from Rs 16,319.60 crore (a loss of Rs 2,366 crore).
The Sales and Trade Tax target has been revised from Rs 57,940.30 crore to Rs 51,508.93 crore.
The ongoing elections have also hit hearings and disposal at revenue courts.
By a conservative official estimate, in Lucknow alone, more than 12,000 cases have come to a halt as officials are on election duty.
All cases being heard in the district magistrates’ courts and other revenue courts have now been given dates after March 14, by when probably a new government would be in place.
Cases pending before officials of five tehsils in Lucknow and others have also been deferred till March.
And with traffic police too deployed on election duty, even traffic in Lucknow is affected.
For about five days, traffic snarls have become the order of the day. A police officer told IANS that 45 Senior Head Constables, 50 Head Constables and 280 Constables have been pulled out for 26 days of election duty.
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Finding itself short-staffed to manage traffic — not to speak of increased VIP movement due to the elections — the traffic department is trying to rope in NCC cadets and Civil Defense wardens to help them out.
The Haj pilgrimage process too has been put on hold in more than one way. The lottery taken out to name the lucky selected ones that usually takes place between March 1 and 8 has been shifted to a later date.
And as politicians are busy campaigning, wooing voters, there are thousands who are hit by election blues and have become collateral damage! (IANS)