NEW DELHI: Honesty should be written into the DNA of taxmen, President Ram Nath Kovind said Friday, addressing a group of trainee officers of the Indian Revenue Service (IRS).
He also asked them to be sensitive towards honest taxpayers.
Meeting a batch of the trainee officers, the president said that India was the world’s fastest growing major economy.
“Over the coming decade, its GDP is expected to more than double. This will create more opportunities all-round. It will increase tax revenues and enhance challenges for IRS officers,” Kovind said.
“They will need to address the challenges while facilitating the economic engine of our country. Their success will determine both their individual future, as well as the trajectory of the Indian economy,” he said.
The president advised the trainee officers to remember that the taxpayer was their partner, not their adversary.
“They have a policy and regulatory role, but they are principally service providers,” Kovind said.
He urged them to be sensitive to the demands and the dignity of the honest tax payer who is coming to them for a service, the statement issued by the president’s office said.
Kovind was talking to the 71st batch of the Indian Revenue Service, who had called on the president.
In conclusion, the president said he did not believe there was need to urge upon the trainee officers the importance of honesty.
For a service so critical to the economic and national life, honesty was a given, he said.
“It should be written into the DNA of the revenue service. Despite aberrations…common people still have great expectations from our public servants and particularly from the IRS,” Kovind said.
The president said that tax revenue paid for developmental and infrastructure projects and for nation building.
From 2000-01, the first year of the millennium, to 2016-17, the share of direct taxes in overall tax collection of the Union government went up from 36 per cent to just short of 50 per cent, he said.
The president said that IRS officers were frontline soldiers in the battle against black money.
“The government has put in place various steps to eradicate or at least minimise the curse of black money — demonetisation, the Income Declaration Scheme, the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana and the Benami Transactions Prohibition Act among others. Each of these measures requires cooperation and follow-up on the part of officer,” Kovind said.