India's finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman urged tax officials to build trust with taxpayers and called for a makeover of the department by cutting down on litigation and using technology for faceless interaction. “I will give you awards and clap for you, when you will achieve the target. I will also clap for you when there will not be any case of harassment of tax payers,” she said at an interaction with tax officials and traders in Prime minister’s Narendra Modi’s constituency.
“Restraint should be the catchword. Go after those who are at fault, but don’t overstretch,” she said. She also stressed on resolution of tax issues rather than litigation, which kills both time and money.
The tax department has lined up a series of changes in the way it communicates with taxpayers as it presents a friendlier face against the backdrop of mounting criticism of it acting in an arbitrary manner.
“By Vijaydashmi (October 8), the department should make a 100% switch to ‘faceless system’ developed by the ministry,” Sitharaman said and also launched an app called ‘GST Sampark.’ The FM said India is one of the world’s fastest growing economies with robust finances, but the country needs to track signs of global recession and its impact on India. “It’s a matter of debate whether slowdown has been triggered by global or internal factors,” she said. She was replying to a query during an interaction with traders and taxmen in Varanasi.
On the slump in the auto industry, the finance minister said, “Allegations about the government discouraging fuel-operated vehicles to promote electric cars is false. Giving a boost to electric vehicles doesn’t mean the government is neglecting the automobile sector.” She said the government was focusing on two important sectors, the small and medium scale industry and agriculture, which are the backbone of the economy. “At the same time, we are trying to tackle problems faced by the banking and non-banking sectors,” she said.