PRIME minister Narendra Modi said on Monday from the ramparts of the Red Fort that he wanted to change the situation where people, particularly those belonging to upper middle class, are scared of Income-Tax authorities. PM further said, upper middle class families face more problems with Income-Tax than the police. “This situation needs to change. And I am already working on it. I will ensure situation changes”, he said. Modi later tweeted:“People, particularly the middle class fear income tax authorities and I want to end this”.
PM’s comments came at a time when there has been an uneasy relation between tax officers and the revenue department that administers direct tax body, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT). It’s the first time that the taxmen are cautioned by the Prime Minister of India during the Independence Day speech, considered to be one of the most-watches speeches in the country and abroad.
PM, however, appreciated the online tax refund mechanism, and how it has helped facilitating quick refunds. He said, honest citizens don’t merely pay tax but they pay a little more tax so that they won’t face problems later. PM then said how they earlier had to request and even lobby to get their refunds. And for months, the refunds used to be lying in the government treasury, he said.
“Now, we give refunds in two to three weeks time. No application is required. It comes straight”, he said, appreciating the positive change of tax refunds.
As the PM spoke of Income-Tax, the live camera began to zoom towards Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his wife Sunita Kejriwal, both of whom incidentally are former Income-Tax officers. Kejriwal resigned as IRS-IT officer much before he had joined politics, and his wife Sunita recently took voluntary retirement from the service. Both of them were sitting along with other dignitaries including Union home minister Rajnath Singh.
PM in his speech also mentioned how interviews for more than 9,000 posts in Group C and D jobs were abolished.