Telgi scam-hit states turn to hi-tech tax meter

New Delhi, April 22 | Updated: Apr 23 2005, 05:34am hrs
Suffering huge revenue loss after the Rs 5,000 crore Telgi fake stamp paper scam, state governments are now looking to new technologies for checking pilferage and cutting down costs of administration. At least eight states have either started or plan to start using a new device tax meter, a stamp paper franking machine, developed by the $5 billion global mailing and document management solution leader Pitney Bowes. More states are in talks with the company to switch over to the new technology in the days to come, said Pitney Bowes India managing director K M Nanaiah.

There had been gain in momentum by states in considering our product tax meters (stamp paper franking machine) after the Telgi scam, he said. The tax meter, which is a tax revenue evidencing product, has been installed in states like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat and Orissa, Mr Nanaiah said, adding West Bengal and Bihar have just approved its installation.

Maharashtra has taken the lead and collected about 60% of its stamp duty aggregating Rs 1,800 crore from tax meter. The company is holding talks with the postal department to introduce hand-held franking machines in the rural areas to offer an alternate to stamp selling mechanism that would help reducing costs drastically. We are ready to introduce hand-held franking machine developed keeping Indian and other growing economies in mind. We have spent several months in rural India to give final shape to the device which yet to be formally branded, Pitney Bowes Inc chairman and chief executive officer Michael J Critelli had told recently.