Even as the officials continue to stay away from searches and surveys, a section of the staff in the income tax (I-T) department has decided to go on a daylong strike on February 28, to protest against outsourcing, contract policy, price rise and wage revision.
While around 5,000 inspectors and other staff in Mumbai will stop work on the designated day, around 1,000 income tax officers (ITOs), assistant commissioners of income tax (ACIT)/deputy commissioners of income tax (DCIT) and promotee joint and additional commissioners would walk out of the offices after the lunch hour. On an all-India level, around 45,000 inspectors and staff would strike work while 8,500 other senior officials would support them.
Under the banner of the Income Tax Gazetted Officers' Association (ITGOA), the ITOs, ACITs and DCITs are already protesting to demand promotions pending for the last two years from December 5. The protest was suspended on January 3 as the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) assured that they would resolve the issue by the third week of January. But since the issue was not resolved, they resumed the protest from January 31 and is still on.
Their protest has affected the search and survey works, thus slowing down the process of tax collection. "To add to it, the strike will affect the work badly. It would cause serious problems as the financial year is getting over in little over a month's time (March 31) and we are far behind the tax collection target," said a senior I-T official on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Mumbai has a tax collection target of Rs2.04 lakh crore.
"We are also supporting the February 28 agitation.
The morale of officers and staff in the department is very low because of many issues including the delay in promotions," said Rajesh Menon, secretary general, ITGOA.
In Mumbai, 80 promotions of officers from the rank of ITO to ACIT or DCIT are pending for the last two years.
The number of pending promotions in the country is more than 400.