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I-T dept faces staff crunch

business Updated: May 22, 2011 22:16 IST
Debobrat Ghose
Debobrat Ghose
Hindustan Times
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Next time if you happen to get a tardy response or your income tax (I-T) refund is delayed, think twice before complaining.

Against sanctioned posts of 56,000 staff members in the I-T department, 11,000 posts are lying vacant across the country.

The shortage of I-T officials has affected the government exchequer, as the tax demand arrears have gone up by 176% in five years, due to poor recovery.

“Standing finance committee report submitted in 2010 mentioned a requirement of 40,000 posts in I-T department but except assurances from the finance ministry and the central board of direct taxes nothing has been done to fill-up the gap,” Ashok Kumar Kanojia, president, income tax employees federation, told Hindustan Times.

A latest Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) audit scrutiny report — yet to be tabled in the Parliament, shows the poor status due to lack of tax recovery officers (TROs). “The uncollected portion of the tax demand has risen by 176% from R95,387.0 crore in 2005-06 to R2.6 lakh crore in 2010-11,” the report said — a copy of which is in the possession of HT, and was reported on May 17.

According to the department sources, out of a total of 832 TRO posts, approximately 250 are functional. The TRO posts were created during cadre restructuring in 2001, to strengthen tax recovery mechanism. It was made mandatory to have one TRO in each range. “Unfortunately, it is not being followed and due to the massive staff shortage it is also affecting our investigations, assessment and refund process,” a senior I-T official said.

Poor infrastructure such as outdated computers, poor connectivity and lack of power back up in many ranges— all have added to the existing woos.