With the income-tax department facing a huge volume of black money cases post-demonetisation, two associations of its employees have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking adequate manpower and infrastructure facilities to probe instances of tax evasion running into "several crores" of rupees.
The two associations -- Income Tax Employees Federation and the Income Tax Gazetted Officers' Association -- represent almost 97 per cent of the workforce of the income tax department.
They said in a joint memorandum that they are feeling "demotivated due to shortage of manpower in lower cadres and huge stagnation in officers cadre right at this moment".
"It is evident from post-demonetisation developments that various other stringent measures will also be needed to fight the menace of black money and corruption and in such measures, the income tax department will have to play a pivotal role. The total number of information of such deposits may figure up to several crores (of rupees).
"...In order to achieve the above objectives, the department must have adequate manpower, especially at key positions, be provided with proper infrastructure facilities so that the workforce stays motivated, committed and highly spirited," the memorandum said.
The associations said they have written a communication in this regard to the prime minister on November 17 "suggesting several measures to effectively fight the battle against black money".
The associations claimed that after the November 8 declaration by the government scrapping Rs 500/1000 notes, the demonetised currencies are "coming back into banking channels in much higher proportion than what was initially expected, indicating the hoarders of black money are trying to circumvent the process of demonetisation by resorting to illegitimate means".
They said the lower rungs of the department are facing "almost 30-35 per cent of vacancies at cutting-edge positions" like additional commissioner of I-T and deputy commissioner of I-T, their junior ranks and others.
It has also flagged the issue of "severe space problems" being faced by assessing officers as they have to take hearings in cases on a rotational basis.
The associations also said in this time of e-governance, the "internet and intranet connectivity of the department stands very poor, thus hindering e-governance as well as internet-based enquiries/assessments as well as knowledge sharing".
The memorandum said the promotions in their ranks are "getting abnormally delayed due to flimsy bureaucratic hurdles, creating huge vacancy at several grades".
"We have already made the request to the PM and the finance minister to equip the I-T department with sufficient manpower and proper infrastructure so that the officers/officials of the department can deliver their best. We, therefore, once again request the government to address these issues on priority basis," the memorandum said.
The I-T department has detected undisclosed income worth about Rs 2,000 crore post demonetisation and its officers across the country are conducting search and seizure operations almost everyday to detect tax evasion and black money cases.
Apart from these two employee associations, the department has a third organisation which comprises the Indian Revenue Service officers, who are posted to man top positions in the department.
Image: A file photograph of tax-payers lining up to submit their income tax returns. Photograph: Kamal Kishore/Reuters.