Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday called for better information sharing among various agencies of the government to check tax evasion.
"I think organisations must come forward to share information with Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, just as DRI must come forward to share information with other organisation tasked with collecting one tax or other or enforcing one law or the other," he said in New Delhi.
"I know that mass of information resides in Financial Intelligence Unit, a mass of information lies in permanent account number data base, a mass of information lies in the registration that we require for excise and service tax for exporters and importer.
“A mass of information lies with depositories in the capital market.
“If this information is not shared on need to know basis, I am afraid much of the effort would be wasted," he said.
Organisations must learn to work with each other, and learn to 'speak' to each other, he said at the foundation day of DRI in New Delhi.
Highlighting the importance of use of technology by agencies like DRI, Chidambaram said, "I think any organisation can change and re-engineer in a very short span of time (with the help of technology)."
DRI should focus on right kind of person, training them the right way and deploying them in the right way so that there could be maximum use of technology, he said.
The intelligence wing of Central Board of Excise and Customs has 532 officers and staff, he said, adding, the staff strength of DRI will double when cadre review is completely rolled out.
Recently, the Cabinet cleared the cadre review, making way for recruitment for another 18,067 posts over a period of time.
Noting the role of DRI as a trade facilitator, Chidambaram said trade facilitation is the catch word in discussions in the World Trade Organization and many other organisations.
Prevention and deterrence against smuggling, fake currency notes, drug trafficking is the other side of trade facilitation, he added.
"Anything that goes through illegal or illegitimate channels, that is anti-trade. Any steps or any measures that we take to prevent illegal trade, to prevent illegitimate activities, actually facilitate trade and that is in-fact trade facilitation," he said.
"We want trade to bloom, we want trade to expand rapidly. . . we must go across national boundaries.
“That is the only way to keep the world economy going, that is why India supported trade facilitation in the recent Bali meeting of WTO.
“We strongly support trade facilitation," he said.
Image: P Chidambaram