President Pratibha Patil on Friday asked the government to expedite its crusade against black money both within and outside the country.
Speaking at a celebration here to commemorate 150 years of the Income Tax, the President said government should give thrust to better global cooperation that can be fostered through appropriate agreements on tax information exchange.
Patil said efforts should be made on taking the help of other countries to track down evaders taking shelter in foreign jurisdictions. Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and all top I-T officials were part of the audience.
The President’s prodding comes on a day when the government moved the Supreme Court seeking review of latter’s decision to set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money headed by a retired SC judge.
The government is embarrassed at the apex court showing lack of faith in its actions on black money. The finance ministry had set up a committee on black money that was looking into how illicit money stashed abroad by Indians could be brought back.
Patil said an environment of voluntary tax compliance has to be fostered and nurtured in the country. “This could best be done perhaps by inculcating voluntary tax compliance as a core duty,” she said.
She appreciated the I-T department’s initiative to spread awareness across the country on role of income tax in nation building. Later, M C Joshi, a member Central Board of Direct Taxes, said the department would target schoolchildren to bring them in batches to the I-T offices to show the functioning of the department to make them aware of the importance of paying tax.
Speaking on the occasion, FM said the direct taxes have become major contributor to the exchequer with its share in the Central government revenue exceeding 56%.
He said the I-T department has matured into an organization that has consistently mobilized the resources needed for financing the development of the country. The function was also attended by S S Palanimanickam, minister of state for Revenue, and Namo Narian Meena, MoS (financial services).