On Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the inaugural session of the annual conference of tax administrators. He asked the officials to double the taxpayers’ base to 10 crore from the current 5.43 crore.
At the opening session of the two-day meet, the PM warned that “the long arm of the law” will catch up with those evading taxes but at the same time, he also asked tax officers to be “soft and sober” in their approach and not treat everyone as tax evaders.
The PM said the foundation of administration should be on five pillars of Revenue, Accountability, Probity, Information and Digitisation (RAPID).
“There should be respect for law among all citizens and even fear of the long arm of the law for those who evade taxes,” PM Modi said.
Stating that people should not fear tax administrators, Prime Minister said Indians inherently are honest and asked the taxmen to build a “bridge of trust” so as to achieve tax collection targets without coercion.
At the conference titled ‘Rajasva Gyan Sangam’ (Knowledge Conference on Revenue), PM Modi asked the officials to “move towards digitisation” to make tax administration efficient and work towards bridging the “trust deficit”.
“You should behave like mentors to people, rather than invaders. Don’t presume that every one is tax evader,” Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia quoted PM Modi as saying in the conference.
Stating that the country is filled with “aspirational people”, Prime Minister Modi urged taxmen to take steps so that people find it easier to pay taxes here.
Prime Minister stressed on being cooperative when dealing with people. “If you become taxpayer friendly, then taxes will automatically come to you,” Adhia said while quoting the PM.
The Prime Minister also asked the taxmen to remove the fear of harassment from the mind of people.
“If you trust the taxpayer, if you build that bridge of trust between the taxpayer and the system… because people of India are inherently honest, then we will find it very easy to be able to achieve the target and ensure that the trust deficit is fully bridged,” MoS, Finance, Jayant Sinha told reporters after the conference.
Sinha explained that of 25 crore households in the country, 15 crore are agriculturalists and hence the remaining 10 crore should come under the tax net.
Addressing the officers, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley suggested the departments should move towards digitisation.
(With inputs from PTI)