The Union Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee said that direct tax collections now account for more than 56 per cent of the total revenue collections of Central Government, making the tax system more progressive than it ever was in the history of independent India. The Finance Minister Shri Mukherjee said that direct tax collections have increased and have reached nearly Rupees four lakhs forty six thousand crores (Rs.4,46,000 crore) in 2010-11. He said that the Income Tax Department has matured into an organisation that has consistently mobilised the resources needed for financing the development of the country. Shri Mukherjee was addressing the senior officials of the Income Tax Department here today on the occasion of the Concluding Ceremony of the Celebrations on Completion of 150 years of the Income Tax Department The Hon™ble President of India Smt Pratibha Devisingh Patil was the Chief Guest on the occasion.The function was also attended by Shri S.S.Palanimanickam, Minister of State for Revenue, Shri Namo Narian Meena, MOS (Financial Services), Shri M.M Joshi, Chairman, Public Accounts Committee(PAC), Shri R.S.Gujral, Revenue Secretary, Shri Prakash Chandra ,Chairman, CBDT along with senior officials of the CBDT and the Ministry of Finance among others.
The Union Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee said that there has been considerable improvement in the efforts of the IT Department to provide better services to the taxpayers. The Finance Minister Shri Mukherjee said that the Central Government™s thrust has been on upgrading and induction of new technology in the services rendered by the IT Department. Shri Mukherjee said that the Department has focused on e-governance initiatives to meet the challenges of the rapidly changing economic environment and the expectations of the growing numbers of taxpayers.
The Union Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee said that our ancient history and culture give us in India our unique identity. Shri Mukherjee said that ancient lawgivers and philosophers, like Manu and Chanakya, wrote extensively on the duties of a sovereign and their relationship with the subjects. The Finance Minister said that they had laid foundations of mighty empires and enabled the spread of India™s unique culture and civilization across many countries. He said when Mr. James Wilson introduced Income Tax in India in its modern form, he was only following in the footsteps of this illustrious tradition. The Finance Minister said that the ancient dictum, ˜Kosh Mul Danda™ continues to be as relevant today as it was thousands of years back.
The Union Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee said that during the course of the yearlong celebrations by the department, one of our officers was able to locate Mr. James Wilson™s grave in Kolkata.
The Union Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee said that he must add that contrary to general understanding, the worlds of finance and culture are not as divorced as they are sometimes made out. He said that the portrait of Surendranath Tagore, nephew of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, as a Tax collector, painted by Gagendranath Tagore, another nephew of Gurudev, which has been reproduced in the book released today, is a case in point. He said that it was in this spirit that an Art Workshop was organized in July 2010 in Kolkata. The enthusiastic response of the people and the artist community of Bengal encouraged the officers of the department to hold workshops and exhibitions in 18 other cities across India, the Minister added. The response everywhere was similar. The Finance Minister Shri Mukherjee said that the wealth of art, ranging from tribal and folk, classical to modern cubism that emerged in these workshops reinforces the classic dictum that there is unity in India™s diversity. Shri Mukherjee said that it showed that our society is live and our culture is rich. More importantly it reflected that our people are not wary of the Government when it takes such initiatives, Shri Mukherjee added. The Union Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee complimented the Income Tax Department, and the organisers of these art workshop, on this unique initiative of bringing the department closer to the people of our country and hope that this approach finds other suitable expressions in the years to come.
In his concluding remarks, the Union Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee said that at one level, tax collection is a painful and a difficult task, as it requires people to part with their hard-earned incomes. The Finance Minister Shri Mukherjee said that this task could become more acceptable and participatory if the tax payer knows that his contributions are being constructively used in the task of nation building. Shri Mukherjee said through the film and the artworks, we have tried to remind people that their tax contributions go a long way in bringing a smile on the faces of many people, who otherwise would languish in poverty. At the same time, it helps in creating the opportunities for them to grow and improve their well-being, the Minister added.