Prime Minister Narendra Modi today asked tax officials to be friendly to honest taxpayers as part of his efforts to end the fear of the taxman and make India a more tax compliant society. Inaugurating the second edition of ‘Rajaswa Gyan Sangam’ — the joint conference of direct and and indirect tax officials — Modi asked them to ensure that the benefits of the biggest tax reform since independence, GST, reach the common man by way of reduced prices. The closed-door two-day conference is being attended by senior officers of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC). “Hon’ble PM @narendramodi directed the tax administrators to be friendly to the honest taxpayers,” CBEC said in a Twitter post.
Since coming to power in May 2014, Modi has assured taxpayers that he will remove the fear of tax officials hounding them by ushering in accountability and answerability. Measures taken include cutting down physical interface between the taxpayer and official to curb corruption and easier online filing of returns and claiming of refund as also paperless email-based inquiry and e-scrutiny. CBEC said Modi appreciated the efforts put in by Central and state officials for smooth implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which unifies more than a dozen levies like excise duty, service tax and VAT.
GST, which Modi previously described as a ‘good and simple tax’ that will help end tax terrorism and inspector raj, was rolled out from July 1, making India one market and ending cascading effect of multiple taxes. “Honble PM @narendramodi desired that the benefit of GST should percolate to the common man,” CBEC said. GST is expected to boost economic activity as same rate for goods and services makes business easy and also facilitates smooth movement of goods and services.
In his address, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley commended the efforts made by the central and state tax officials to make GST a reality. He also thanked Modi for his “visionary policies and motivation”, CBEC said in a tweet. The objective of the two-day Rajaswa Gyan Sangam is to enable a two-way communication between the policymakers and the senior officers in the field offices with a view to increase revenue collection and facilitate effective implementation of law and policies, the finance ministry had earlier said.