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MoF policy to hit 3,000 taxmen
TIOL News Service in New Delhi |
July 01, 2004 07:20 IST
Last Updated: July 01, 2004 09:06 IST
Now that the finance minister has approved certain amendments in the New Transfer Policy -- a legacy of the previous government -- both the revenue boards of the Central Board of Direct Taxes & Central Board of Excise and Customs -- are abuzz with a flurry of activity.
Although the boards are yet to make the policy public, it is learnt that it would be released along with the first chunk of orders to be issued this week.
However, a rough calculation indicates that both the revenue boards are heading for an extraordinary exercise of moving anywhere between 40-46 per cent of their Group A cadre strength -- a whopping 3,000 officers which would cost the exchequer a minimum of Rs 30 crore (Rs 300 million).
As compared to those of the CBEC, the CBDT bosses appear to be caught on a wrong foot for lack of detailed information about their officers. Since doing calculations manually would upset their time budget, it is learnt to have asked its 22 cadre-controlling Chief Commissioners to send it the list of officers who are getting covered by the 6, 3 & 2 formula.
Some of the reports reached on Tuesday evening. For instance, as many as 42 Commissioners of Income-Tax (CITs) are getting affected in Delhi out of a sanctioned strength of 89 CITs.
Similarly, the number touches 50-figure out of a sanctioned strength of 101 in Mumbai. This way the CIT list may go up to anywhere between 200 to 225.
However, the challenge lies in the transfer of Addl/JCITs and ACIT/DCITs. Given that the board and even cadre-controlling authorities are not fully equipped with the latest data and the administration is not computerised, it is indeed going to be a painful struggle for the CBDT to meet the deadlines.
But all efforts would be made to issue the orders in the next one week but to be effective after July 15. So far as CCITs' order was concerned, the CBDT had prepared a list disturbing as much as 46 per cent of their strength. The list is now learnt to be being scaled down!
On the CBEC front which has always been very keen to issue the orders, some transfer orders can be expected anytime.
Since it had done its homework earlier and kept the data-sheets ready on computers, it is not finding it very difficult to make changes as per amended policy. The total number which may get affected if the policy is implemented in toto is likely to be close to 900!
The largest change would be in the case of AC/DC for whom the 4, 3 & 2 formula has been prescribed so that everybody gets a chance to work at the cutting-edge level and vested interests could be broken frequently.
To begin with, CBEC intends to issue the Addl/JC order first which may have any number between 120 to 145.
Since the Commissioners' promotion file continues to be stuck at the DoP&T minister-level, the CBEC is unlikely to wait for its ACC approval and would make a serious attempt to complete its job by this Friday.
But, what may reduce the tally marginally is a major relief which the FM is learnt to have granted is that all those who have completed either six years or five years nine months by December 31, 2003 are only to be touched. In other words, if one has done less than three years and nine months in a Group B station by end of 2003, he is not going to be covered.
So, those who have completed their four years and a few months more only now in June 2004, they would be left out unless some over-enthusiasm is shown to fix some Commissioners or Addl/JCs by those who are handling this sensitive exercise!
Though Chidambaram has taken the onus to straighten the transfer guidelines festering for long in one go but he seems to have erred at one place by counting deputation tenure.
Deputation is one window where revenue boards never help out their own officers to go and get better exposure which can help in adopting holistic approach to revenue collections, it should have been left out at least the first one. Since deputation is a matter of selection, it doesn't amount to affording an opportunity to any officer to go for hanky-panky. It is a tough contest and only the meritorious earns a slot.
So, by counting such a tenure the new policy discourages revenue officers from going on deputation which would ultimately hurt the government itself in the long-run!
Another area where the finance minister and his battery of officials have seemingly erred is that of training institutes that have not been given separate treatment in the policy.
Given that world over only the best officers are given an opportunity to have a stint with the training institutes, in our case NADT (National Academy of Direct Taxes) and NACEN (National Academy of Customs and Excise and Narcotics) are always treated as dumping ground.
Those who have no mai-baap are pushed there. For instance, those who are posted at NACEN in Faridabad would be a loser as their tenure would be counted for Station A! In fact, it was a good opportunity for both the revenue boards to make posting to these training institutes a prized one by exempting them from this tenure system.
If India intends to become a training hub for revenue officials in Asia it has got to seize opportunities like this to attract good officers for these institutes. But it would always remain a national dream and none working for it!