Taxmen's revolt angers Arun Jaitley
New Delhi: Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday took a serious view of the resolution passed by some income tax officials (officers of Indian Revenue Service) against alleged interferences by department of revenue. “This is an act of insubordination. Officers indulging in acts of indiscipline would be subject to conduct rules,” said Mr Jaitley. He said that no department of the government has absolute autonomy. “It has to serve the larger goal of the government. The supervisory powers of next higher authority ensures that there is no misuse of power by anyone in the government,” said Mr Jaitley.
The department of revenue is currently headed by Mr Hasmukh Adhia, a Gujarat-cadre IAS officer, seen by many as a powerful bureaucrat in the Modi government. According to reports some of the senior-most officers, assembled in Mumbai last week to discuss the revenue department’s alleged interference in “operational matters” saying it was hurting the morale of income- tax department officials.
Mumbai is a significant zone as it accounts for one-third of India’s direct tax collection. In the resolution passed by these, they charged the revenue department of undermining the autonomy of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT). The resolution followed a case pertaining to an assessment order passed by tax official on March 30 in which a demand of Rs 10,000 crore was raised against State Bank of India and it was asked to pay the dues on the same day, said finance ministry sources.
It was found that income tax officials had unfairly slapped an interest of Rs 5,800 crore on SBI for paying less amount as advance tax than what was due, said sources. The government found this was a clear case of how the officers of the I-T department jacked up their achievement of revenue collection for the year. The revenue department took a serious view of this and asked CBDT to initiate action against responsible officers for this, mainly because this time the government had made it very clear to all field functionaries that no such unfair means will be used for jacking up the revenue collection achievement, sources said. This matter has come to light when government is going all out to ensure that amnesty scheme launched for domestic black money succeeds.