Thursday, August 04, 2016

Uneasy calm prevails between I-T officers and revenue department; 10 developments

Some of the demands of IRS officers
THERE has been an uneasy calm between the revenue department headed by an IAS officer and officers belonging to Indian Revenue Service-Income Tax (IRS-IT) after a delegation of IRS officers met finance minister Arun Jaitley last Saturday and resolved some of the issues including an agreement to direct its Mumbai-based colleagues to suspend a proposed strike. The recent problem began when a section of Income-Tax officers located in Mumbai adopted a resolution on July 22, 2016, questioning the interferences of the revenue department headed by IAS officer Hasmukh Adhia and even demanded abolition of the post of revenue secretary itself. Here are the 10 developments in the last two weeks:

1. Mumbai chapter of the IRS Association on July 22, 2016 adopted a written resolution against the department of revenue. 
2. The finance ministry under which the department of revenue functions took serious objections to the development and issued an official statement on July 28, calling the resolution as “act of insubordination”, further warning that the officers indulging in acts of indiscipline would be “subject to conduct rules”. 
3. On July 30, 2016, a delegation of IRS Association met the finance minister and apprised him of the issues concerning IRS, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and operational aspect of the Income-Tax department. 
4. According to the Association’s statement, the delegation of the IRS officers “conveyed deep sense of deprivation and injustice among IRS officers leading to severe discontent and demoralization". 
The delegation highlighted the “operational difficulties of IRS officers including role and authority of CBDT”.
5. Disparity in empanelment and pay with IAS was also brought to the notice of the FM. “Empanelment of joint secretary and above should be expedited and there should be a pay parity with IAS”.
6. Demands included parity of pay and also two additional increments for IRS on promotion of STS, JAG and selection grade. 
7. It was also demanded that the CBDT whose powers and functions emanate from Central Board of Revenue Board 1963 and Income Tax Act 1961, be allowed to administer the direct tax policies of the government, strictly as per the said acts. 
8. The Association members also appealed the FM that punitive transfers and disciplinary actions taken against IRS officers in Mumbai should be reversed.
9. After IRS Associations asked its Mumbai chapter to call off the strike, it “put the protest in abeyance and suspected forthwith”.
10. Meanwhile, a new CBDT chairperson - Ms Rani Singh Nair took over and the IRS Association in a new release says, it hopes there will be “a dawn of a new era of positivity and co-operation which will result in justice and motivation of IRS officers resulting in achievements of all goals of the government and best services to the citizens”.


  1. This is an endemic problem in our civil services. Every service prides itself for being professional but behaves like a spoilt child simply because a cadre authority comes from some other service. At one level I find this poetic justice because these ame "dissatisfied an demoalised" IRS officers have no qualms displaying their sense of entitlement and superiority when ordinary citizens approach them for guidance or assistance. The pity is that despite this ruckus none of the IRS officers will develop a sense of compassion or empathy towards others.

    Personally I feel strict adherence to cadre in appointments breeds smugness and complacency. The GOI should keep disturbinhg the status quo by always appointing officers from different fields. Only then will a shake-up work and people will start performing.

    Brigadier S.S.Dhillon (retired)

  2. Racism in Bureaucracy must go.
    IRS officers Association's Resolution protesting Deptt of Revenue's (DoR) alleged interference into their day-to-day functioning ,is a serious indictment of government's functioning. The following anomalies need immediate attention :-
    (a) Have pay parity among different organised services;
    (b) Why should the IAS have an edge over other services at every stage ;
    Discriminatory, unjust and unfair. Causes heart-burnings.
    (c) Why should DOR be headed by an IAS officer. Functional expertise of the specialized cadre of IRS officers must be recognized;
    (d)The IRS officers blame DOR for fixing unrealistic targets for revenue collection and then reprimand them for failure to achieve the same; Secretary(Revenue ) must share the blame instead of passing on the buck to IRS officers. Unethical.
    (e)DOR calls IRS association's remonstrance as an act of insubordination. A high-handed approach to please the political masters.
    (f) Why can't MHA be headed by an IPS officer; Financial Services by a professional banker; DPE by a turn-around professional from public sector, Revenue Secretary should be an IRS officer and so on. Why allow these sinecures to be monopolized by one Service, alone ?
    No wonder, the situation could reach a flashpoint, once other disgruntled Services jump into the fray. Successive governments at the Centre have been busy cultivating their favourites instead of addressing the genuine concerns of organized Services. There is a simmering discontentment in all Services that might adversely impact GoI's image.
    One trusts, PM Modi does not go the same way. He must take the call and rein in the elite service. Blind reliance on one set of civil servants, is detrimental to Good governance.

    A K Saxena (A retd civil servant)

    1. This much reply is enough if the Govt or any other party have genuine reasons to keep IAS one step above...if purpose is different, whatever reply given will make no change !

    2. If you interact with the IAS, most of them are trained to believe that they have inherited the Raj from the Britishers and all others are subordinates.The institution of DOPT and cabsec are created to maintain this hegemony over other services.Afew IAS are exceptions, but the majority have the same feudal approach to the citizens and other services.No civilized country has such an outdated system,they dont have such an archaic bureaucracy.Only a firm decision by top political leadership can end this domination and usher in a truly pofessional governance system in tune with 21st century india.