A fresh cadre review and restructuring of the Income Tax Department has been ordered by the government with an aim to create a "caring but strict" direct taxes regime in the country.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), that frames policy for the I-T Department, on Monday ordered creation of a 12-member committee of senior officials to accomplish the task within the next three months.
The development assumes significance as another committee or task force to draft a new direct tax law to replace the existing Income Tax Act is already a work in progress and it has been asked by the government to submit its report by February 28.
The new committee to undertake cadre review and restructuring of the department has been given a specific four-point charter to follow.
A copy of the terms of reference of the committee has been accessed by PTI and it said the panel will suggest ways to "organise the I-T Department in a manner which will further promote compliance with direct tax laws through caring tax payer service and strict enforcement."
It will also "accordingly make advance projections of man power requirement and propose appropriate modifications in the extant organisational structure within the frame work of the government guidelines so as to facilitate filling up all the posts in the department in a time bound manner."
The committee, chaired by Delhi-based Principal Director General of Income Tax, S K Dash, will also suggest ways to "bring about rationalisation of the organisational structure for enhancing the effectiveness of the department through improved efficiency and morale of its workforce."
The CBDT said the motive of the entire cadre review and restructuring exercise is to "enable and equip the department to meet challenges of today and tomorrow."
The last cadre restructuring of the department was carried out by the government in 2013 that led to the creation of 20,751 posts in various ranks. The exercise also gave the taxman the apex administrative pay scales of the central government for its top brass.
Officials said the latest exercise was finalised by the government after a lot of deliberations and keeping in mind two main ideas-- vacancies in the post of Assistant Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners that are to be filed by cadre officers of the department and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's idea of creating a regime where tax officials are friendly to honest taxpayers, end the fear of the taxman and make India a more tax compliant society.
"It is expected that the new direct tax law and cadre restructuring can be ushered in together so that the new system takes over with uniformity and in one go. However, the committee on cadre review and restructuring will only recommend its proposals and the government and the finance ministry will take the final call on what to pick and what to leave," a senior official said.
The CBDT has directed that the committee shall submit its report to it "within a period of three months from the date of issuance of the order (December 17, 2018)."The committee will also have members from the three employee associations in the department-- Indian Revenue Service (IRS), I-T Gazetted Officers Association and I-T Employees Federation.