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Search engines to spy on tax evaders

Finance Minister Chidambaram says innovative search engines are being created to unearth tax evaders.

india Updated: Nov 11, 2006 15:46 IST

Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Saturday said innovative search engines were being created to seek information and unearth tax evaders.

Speaking at the inauguration of India's first Large Taxpayers Unit (LTU) in Bangalore, he said limited information was coming in the way to reach tax evaders, but it would change.

A group of professionals was working on several innovative search engines, which would help in gaining information leading to unearthing of tax evaders, he added.

Chidambaram said a small number (of tax evaders) believe they are "clever" but that is no longer true. "We have more information than you (tax evaders) think we have".

The minister said the Government intends to open LTUs in Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata. Out of this, he expects one or two to commence operations before March. There are 830 entities, which are eligible to join LTUs: 202 in Delhi, 282 in Mumbai, 132 in Chennai, 131 in Kolkata and 83 in Bangalore.

He said the cost of tax collection was the lowest in India at 0.67 per cent and expected it to drop to 0.64 per cent this year.

Chidambaram said it was necessary to bring about administrative and attitudinal changes and incorporate modern management principles into tax administration. "That's what we are trying to do". There was a need to make the tax administration more friendly and helpful. The finance minister also said compliance was the key to further tax reforms.

LTU officials said 31 out of 83 eligible large taxpayers have joined LTU in Bangalore. The total tax revenue paid by them in 2005-06 was Rs 1,464 crore. They said the figure was expected to go up to Rs 1,800 crore in the current fiscal.