Central excise day is celebrated all over India on 24th February to instill a sense of oneness and sincerity in service amongst officers of the Excise Department and to help public to ensure better tax compliance. The day marks enactment of the Central Excise and Salt Act, 1944. On this day, different programs are organized by the government authorities. Different states have different events to commemorate this day. On this day Companies with meticulous performance are felicitated and few of the most deserving employees are rewarded for their matchless sincere duty towards the government and to the nation.
In addition to these awards and rewards, many other activities are also planned for the Central Excise Day ceremony. Several workshops and seminars are conducted for the staff members. Awareness programs are also run by the concerned departments and higher authorities. The celebration of Central Excise Day is also marked by publication of write-ups/articles in major newspapers/journals/magazines by officers of the Department, organisation of cultural programmes in the Collectorates/Divisional Head quarters, holding of seminars in various fields, distribution of prizes/awards, as well as organizing a public Redressal Week, Arrears Clearance Week etc.
History of Central Excise Day
The history of Central Excise day dates back to 1944 when Central Excide Act was enacted to regulate levying of the Central Excise Duty. Excise duties have been collected since time immemorial, but only in 1944, 11 acts were combined and named "The Central Excise & Salt Act, 1944". Later in 1996, it was named as "The Central Excise Act, 1944". The value and rates of duty were prescribed under Schedule 1 and 2 of the act. There are 67 items mentioned in the original act on which excise duty is levied. In 1975, 68th item was introduced generally as "all other goods not elsewhere specified", which basically meant the "Terror items".
This led to various controversies, so later in 1985, a new Act known as "The Central Excise Tariff Act, 1985" (CETA) was introduced. This change was incorporated in the original Central Excise Act, 1944 and this amended Central Excise Act, 1944 came into being. The Central Excise Officers were given the responsibility to collect the duties. The Central Excise Law is an important part of this act administered by the Central Board of Excise and Customs.
Duties of Central Excise Department
Excise is a tax charged on goods produced within the country as opposed to customs duties, charged on goods from outside the country. The Central Excise duty is imposed and collected by the Central Excise Department. The Entry empowers the Central Government to levy Duty on all articles produced or manufactured in India (including tobacco) except Alcohol and Opium. The power to collect Excise duty on Alcohol and Opium has been assigned to States and it is known as State Excise duty and comes under the purview of Excise Departments of the respective states.
Excise Departments are responsible and are under bound obligation to look into the excise duty matters, to check evasion and protect the country under the supervision of the Commissioner, Central Excise. Excise is one of the main revenue in India. On the 65th Central Excise Celebration Day, Central Excise Commissioner T. Somasundaram said, "Central Excise duty was the single largest source of revenue for the Centre and was the fiscal backbone of the economy".
What is expected of the officials and employees of Excise Department is well portrayed by the Excise Day message from the desk of Chief Commissioner, Central Excise as: "As you are aware, we are celebrating Excise Day on 24th February, I convey my best wishes on this day to you and your family members. In the 60 years since the Central Excise Act was passed, there has been a sea change in our role and areas of activities. From strict enforcers of the law who physically checked every vehicle leaving the factory, we now only scrutinize Returns submitted by the assessee, who is now not even required to debit the duty in advance and pays only after the month end.
In addition to our role as taxation officers we are now required to discharge various functions in the context of trade facilitation and each one of us is engaged in the task of carrying out the Governments mandate. We have to abide by commitments made in our citizen's charter and not allow it to remain a mere rhetoric. There is still room for improvement and we need to bring about a change in our mindset and in the way we conduct ourselves in public life. The change in our attitude should be seen and felt by every individual who comes in contact with our department at each and every level.
You should remember that you are the face of this department and, therefore, your action, or for that matter inaction is crucial for the image of the department. While we all appreciate the hard work put in by you to achieve the goals and objectives assigned to you, there is also need to improve the public perception. Let us all strive together to take this department to further glorious heights".
Persons Required to Register
Any person who is engaged or wants to get engaged in the production or manufacture or in the process of production or manufacture of the goods specified in The Central Excise Tariff Act, 1985 are required to register with the Excise Department. Following are the group of people who have to get their activities registered:
- Broker/Commission Agent dealing in any excisable goods
- Owner of private showroom or warehouse of excisable goods
- Dealer/Importer who issues invoices under Rule 57G or Rule 57T (for purposes of MODVAT credit)
- Movable: The goods should be movable.
- Marketable: The goods should be marketable.
- Manufacturing: The goods should be the output of a manufacturing process.
- Mentioned: The goods should be mentioned in the Central Excise Tariff Act, 1985.
The Central Excise Day is celebrated mainly by organizing a number of workshops, seminars and a variety of other programs. The underlying purpose of the programs held on the day are mainly to felicitate the excellence of the employees of the Excise Department and to boost their morale. The award ceremony is one of the highlights of the Central Excise Day celebration.