Srinagar: In continuation of the outreach programmes across the UT of J&K and Ladakh, Taxpayers Awareness Campaign ‘Mulaqaat’ was continued today in the districts of Anantnag and Kupwara of Kashmir Province, Leh of UT of Ladakh and Kathua and Katra of Jammu Province.
The Income Tax Department in Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh is headed by the Principal Commissioner of Income Tax, Srinagar, M.P Singh (IRS Officer of 1990 Batch), under whose supervision, for the first time such an initiative is being taken. In Kupwara, the programme was conducted at the Town Hall where along with Joint Commissioner of Income Tax, Rajiv Gubgotra and officers of the CGST Department and the ADC of the district were also present. In Anantnag, the programme was conducted at the Dak Bunglow, Khanabal where along with the District Magistrate, Dr. Piyush Singla, Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax, Smt. Abhishri and officers of the CGST Department were present.
The interaction was with representatives of the local youth, dry fruit shop owners, willow bat manufacturers and other small shopkeepers and businessmen in large numbers. Feedback from the people was taken by the officers regarding taxation issues and their aspirations from the Union Budget.
Mushtaq, a young trader from Anantnag, requested that awareness and educational camps be continued in the district extensively to educate the public about the same. He insisted that the locals wanted to pay taxes but they needed guidance with respect to the same to encourage voluntary compliance. The locals requested that such interactive sessions continue with the jurisdictional officers in order to address their concerns more effectively.
Shaukat Mansoor, Secretary, Trade Federation of Kupwara district requested the establishment of a dedicated ASK (Aayakar Seva Kendra) centre at Kupwara. Mr. Wasim, a local CA from Anantnag requested that the jurisdictional Income Tax Office for Anantnag be located closer to the district headquarters for facilitating the taxpayers there. The President of the Municipal Council of Anantnag and Mr. Ashfaq, a businessman from Kupwara requested that extension for filing of returns be granted to the people of the valley keeping in mind the unique challenges faced by the locals here. The local traders and small shopkeepers were also informed about sections of the Income Tax Act, 1961, under which they can avail of the presumptive taxation scheme.
With regard to the Union Budget the locals gave their ideas and suggestions based on their local issues. Increased focus on tourism, construction of mini hydro power stations, employment generation for the youth especially women, promotion of willow bats and increased access to credit facilities were the highlights from Anantnag. In Kupwara the local youth raised concerns about the fact that since Kupwara was quite faraway from Srinagar, the district needs emphasised development impetus specially in cottage industries.
Faizan Quereshi, a local youth of Kupwara stressed that more vocational training institutes may be opened in faraway places with an objective to provide employment. The locals expressed great happiness that the Hon’ble Finance Minister of the Government of India had sent officers from the Income Tax Department and Central GST Department to listen to their concerns and gather feedback. The officers noted down the detailed points raised by the locals, collected feedback forms and promised to communicate the same to their superiors.
Moreover, the District Magistrate of Anantnag also promised that a task force for youth was being formed which would identify and focus on issues faced by the local youth of Anantnag, with the assistance of panchayats.
The taxpayers of the district were also educated about the technological advancements brought in both the departments and the transparency and accountability associated with the same. Overall, it was a highly constructive and fruitful interactive session where the voices, thoughts and ideas of the locals from Anantnag and Kupwara were heard and recorded.
M.P Singh has assured that the Income Tax Department is committed to the best taxpayer services for its assessees and assured that all their grievances will be redressed in a transparent and efficient manner.