With just 3 weeks to go for the Union Budget, the government’s revenue collection target for 2009-10 has run into an unforeseen obstacle — a shortage of senior personnel in the Income Tax Department.
As many as 71 posts of the rank of commissioner are lying vacant. As a result the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) is expecting a shortfall in revenue collection.
CBDT chairman S.S.N. Moorthy met UPSC chairman D.P. Aggarwal on Thursday to discuss this issue, but the meeting remained inconclusive.
The UPSC chairman reportedly referred Moorthy to Shantanu Consul, the chairman of the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT), as the matter does not come under his purview.
CBDT had set a direct tax collection of Rs 3.7 lakh crore for the financial year, which it had later revised upward to Rs 4 lakh crore at the isntance of Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
As of December, 2009, only 2.4 lakh crore have been collected, according to sources. About 40 per cent of the direct tax is collected during the last quarter of the financial year, but the CBDT chairman is concerned that in case the top posts continue to remain vacant, the collection targets would be affected.
“Consequent to the recent promotion of some of the commissioners of Income Tax to the grade of chief commissioner of Income Tax the vacancies in the grade of CIT have gone up to 71. Needless to say, this is adversely affecting the efforts of the department in meeting the revenue collection targets,” Moorthy wrote to Aggarwal in a letter dated February 2.
Moorthy is now planning to meet the DoPT chairman.
The government is so worried about the expected shortfall in the direct tax collections that Revenue Secretary Sunil Mitra on Thursday held an urgent meeting with 18 chief commissioners of income tax to review the situation and find a way to fill up the gap.