Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Mountbatten Musings: CBDT chairman’s direction for early refund to rejoice millions of Indian tax payers

WHEN 1973 batch Indian Revenue Service officer Sudhir Chandra took over as the chairman of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on December 31, 2010, he ordered the backdoor of his historically significant corner room of North Block opened. The door which remained closed for over 60 years leads to a balcony overlooking the monumental beauty of Raisina Hills --- The Rashtrapati Bhawan. What’s more, the pillared balcony has reminiscence of history thanks to the emblem of Lord Mountbatten-headed South East Asia Command being carved on a plaque there.
Over a month later, Chandra issued another directive which stands to benefit lakhs of tax papers in the country waiting for their refund cheques to come. The CBDT chairman has now directed all chief commissioners to upload necessary data so that the refunds could be issued expeditiously, said an official release. Significantly, it will be for the first time that most income tax refunds of the current assessment year will be dispatched to the taxpayers within the current financial year itself. All taxpayers who have filed e-returns and whose refund claim is below Rs 10 lakh would be issued their income tax refunds by March 2011. The move is significant as many tax payers receive their refund money only after a few years of the assessment year.
Significantly, the CBDT chairman’s room has a historical bearing as India’s last viceroy Lord Louis Mountbatten used it during the World War II. An inscription in the room says: “Admiral The Lord Louis Mountbatten, G.C.V.O.K.C.B.D.S.O.A.D.C. Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia Command occupied this room from October 1943 till April 1944 and thereafter when present in New Delhi until the end of the War against Japan. The emblem of the South East Asia Command is also carved on the plaque within the pillared balcony outside this room.” (In picture: CBDT chairman’s corner room in North Block reminds of colonial power-center)

Shashi Kant Sharma appointed as new financial services secretary
Shashi Kant Sharma, a 1976 batch Bihar cadre IAS, presently secretary in department of information technology has been appointed as secretary in department of financial services under ministry of finance in the vacancy of R Gopalan, a 1976 batch Tamil Nadu cadre IAS who has recently been made DEA secretary. A post graduate in political science and a MSc degree holder from the University of York, Sharma had earlier served as additional secretary in defence ministry and DoPT. 


  1. An excellent piece of information on Mountbatten's legacy. Good to find such offbeat information about corridors of power as we are fed up with the routine dose of appointment speculations.- An official

  2. Mr. Sudhir chandra has changed the face of the Income Tax department with in just a month. Today he is considered as one of the finest civil servants of India. No surprise in finding his name among the 5 most powerful bureaucrats of India in 2010.