Q & A : Shahid Khan, Member of Empowered Committee on computerisation in Income Tax Department, Income Tax Systems

Shahid Khan is leading one of the major & challenging computerisation projects of Government of India, to restructure Income Tax Department.

He is member of Empowered Committee on computerisation in Income Tax Department and Chairman of Steering Committee on Tax Information Network (TIN).

Did you face resistance from the employees for the changes introduced while computerising the tax Department and providing the services electronically?
Income Tax Department had carried out an organisational restructuring in 2001 for work in a fully computerised environment.  At that stage all associations of officers and staff were taken into confidence and their views were incorporated in the restructuring proposal.  Therefore, all employees associations are committed to work in a fully computerised environment.  However, subsequently when Kelkar Committee Report recommended outsourcing of non-core functions, certain reservations were expressed by the staff side to outsourcing of data entry and some other low end jobs. The department has been making an effort to convince all sections of employees that outsourcing of non-core jobs will not affect their service conditions.  Instead it will enable them to apply themselves to high skill jobs relating to tax investigation, widening of tax base and recovery of arrears etc. by using more sophisticated automated techniques.

What are the key initiatives to be implemented in the next phase of Tax department’s e-Government project?
The department is moving to centralised architecture. For this project, consolidation of regional databases into a single national database and linking all Income Tax Offices in 510 cities to this national database through IP-VPN network is undergoing. These are expected to be rolled out by June, 2006.

How are you planning to create awareness about the e-delivery of tax services?
This is being done mainly through publicity in media, and interactions with Institute of Chartered Accountants, representative bodies of business and taxpayers organisations.  An awareness campaign for mandatory e-filing of TDS returns by corporate and government deductors is currently being carried out through various channels.

To what extent do you think the tax reforms will help in increase of revenue for the department?
Direct Tax revenues have been showing an increase of over 25% per annum compounded for last three successive years.  Such high buoyancy is to a substantial extent attributable to tax reforms and the policies relating to switch over to a computerised environment.

What kind of measures are you taking to ensure security and catch tax frauds? Are you planning to use data mining techniques for achieving the goal?
Phase-III of Computerisation programme, which is currently under implementation, includes effective security measures to prevent unauthorised access and to protect privacy of information. 

The schemes for mandatory e-filing of TDS returns, creation of party-wise electronic TDS accounts, electronic filing of Annual Information Returns of high value financial transactions are designed to eliminate tax frauds relating to bogus TDS certificates, false claims of tax credit and identification of persons dealing with high value financial transactions but not paying their due taxes.  Use of data warehousing and data mining techniques are part of Phase-III.  The department has already introduced a scheme for Computer Assisted Selection of cases for scrutiny based on their risk potential.

What are your services committed under NeGP? How do you compare the initiatives of your department under NEGP mission vis-