Tribune News Service
New Delhi, August 13
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday launched a platform to provide faceless assessment and appeal in income tax cases, which he said was part of the process to overhaul colonial-era tax laws.
"The previous system, instead of expanding the taxpayer base, was harassing honest businessmen, workers and those providing employment,’’ observed the PM while also launching the taxpayers' charter, first announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during her Budget speech.
The Prime Minister said after Independence, the coercive and colonial system of tax collection was only tinkered with.
"But largely the system and the character remained the same. As a result, the taxpayer, who is a strong pillar of national development, was put in the dock."
"Soch and approach dono badal gayi (Both the thinking and approach have changed). Reforms should be policy-based, holistic and one reform should form the basis for further reforms,’’ the PM observed while pointing out that earlier regimes would label changes made under pressure as reforms and they would become an end to themselves.
"We not done just one reform. There have been constant efforts over the last few years,’" said the PM while pointing to the junking of 1,500 outdated laws, a huge improvement in the ease of doing business and major changes in laws and rules.
"Seeing this commitment the trust of foreign investors has increased leading to record inflow of foreign direct investment even during the Corona period," he underlined.
The PM said the changes were due to four reasons: policy-driven governance, narrowing of grey areas of discretion, limiting human interface by use of technology, and awarding efficiency in bureaucracy.
The earlier system enabled the flourishing of 'black and white' because it was complex. The new GST slab system has removed the need for unnecessarily providing several documents; schemes like 'Vivad Se Vishwas' have helped resolve three lakh cases out of court and the IT system is being made seamless, painless and faceless.
The PM said the taxpayer charter will balance between the responsibilities and duties of a taxpayer and also fix the responsibilities of the government.
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