May 03, 2020

CITU Condemns Enquiry against IRS Officers For Suggesting Tax Hikes on the Rich

THE Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), in an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 28, condemned the action taken by the central government against 50 Revenue Service Officers for their report suggesting tax-hike on the rich. It said that the government’s action was thoroughly unjust and autocratic.

It has been reported that the government has initiated an inquiry on 50 IRS officials for the report titled ‘Fiscal Options and Response to Covid-19’ (FORCE), prepared by the IRS Association suggesting tax-hike on the rich through income tax and wealth tax routes as the fiscal management strategy for tackling the issues and problems arising out of Covid-19 outbreak. Three senior IRS officials including the general secretary of the association have been charge-sheeted, said media reports on April 27.

The CITU said that it has been demanding since long for  taxation on the ultra-rich, both through income tax and wealth tax routes, for resource generation and for addressing the national-economy related priorities instead of burdening the poor through cuts in subsidies and welfare expenditures, besides the heavier indirect taxation on essential commodities through GST route. And therefore the suggestions highlighted by the FORCE merit serious consideration by the government in the interests of people and also the national economy.

The CITU condemned the centre for taking action on grounds of violation of service conduct rules at their individual capacity, that too in response to the collective opinion of a professional body like IRS Association on matters well within their professional competence and eligibility. It said that the IRS Association has been in existence since long and the government also recognises and deals with them on various matters. And the Association is well within its rights to air their collective opinions and do not warrant penalisation, CITU said in the letter. 

CITU said that the government’s action was undemocratic and an infringement on right to association, and needs to be revoked. It urged the government to seriously consider the suggestions highlighted in the report made by the IRS Association and also withdraw the charge-sheet and enquiry process against the officers in the interests of fairness and propriety.