Piyush Goyal, the Minister of Railways and Coal who is given additional charge of Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Corporate Affairs has urged the tax officials to be taxpayer friendly. “Very often in the over-enthusiasm of tax administration, we become overzealous and that causes a lot of agony, particularly to the honest taxpayer who believes that I have done no wrong but why should I be in general category of facing the wrath of tax administration,” said Goyal while addressing Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs Investiture Ceremony and International Customs Day. Arun Jaitley, the permanent finance minister and Corporate Affairs Minister in on medical leave in the United States. Goyal has been given the temporary charge of finance ministry till Jaitley joins the board, Goyal will also present the interim budget for NDA government on February 1.
Last term of Goyal as finance minister in 2018 was very productive despite the fact that he got very short time at the helm of finance ministry affairs. Under his leadership in last year, Project Sashakt was launched to revitalize public sector banks. The project aimed at strengthening the credit capacity and credit culture at the banks. Rationalization of GST rates on sanitary pads, toiletries, lithium batteries, vacuum cleaners, washing machines, water heaters, hair dryers, raw materials like marble, wood and ethanol happened in the council meeting on July 21. Goyal also formed sub-committee to look after the issues of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. The bankruptcy law was amended and the controversial Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill was withdrawn under his tenure. The LIC-IDBI also happened under the tutelage of Piyush Goyal.
Goyal also asked the bureaucracy to be more responsible and said that every person among 80,000 bureaucrats needs to take collective responsibility of the whole system. “Similarly, when people talk about administration of different departments of the government, bureaucracy, it is very unfortunate that all are brushed in the same language. And therefore it becomes incumbent on all of us to collectively recognise our responsibility. Each one of us, as an individual, represents 80,000 officers. Each one of us will have to recognise that my actions are going to reflect on the image of 79,999 colleagues,” he said.
Although Goyal suggested the tax officials to be friendly to taxpayers, that does mean revenue which is used for the welfare of poor and security of borders should be lost. “We are here to do a job to ensure that the revenues of the government, which are rightfully due to be collected and which go to serve the poor of India, to create infrastructure, which go to develop security for our borders should not be lost. No revenue should be lost,” Goyal said. “But I do believe that many steps that have been taken over the last few years to create the atmosphere where our officers should be welcomed rather than avoided will continue in the years to come … at this stage, I also appeal to the business community that it is time to do business ethically and straight. Those days are gone when there was era of very high taxes, very high import duties, very high indirect and direct taxes, which caused people to look at different avenues to skip tax,” he added.
The last term of Piyush Goyal has been fruitful for the government and the people. He is expected to perform with efficiency in this term too.