We want people to clean up their books: FM Arun Jaitley
“Income Declaration Scheme is a part of the strategy where we want people to clean up their books. We want more and more people to use this opportunity”, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said at a workshop on Income Declaration Scheme and Gold Monetisation Scheme, which was organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) here on Thursday. “The relationship between the taxmen and the assesse is undergoing change though it is still a work in progress. The change will be visible in the future. Apprehensions and fears need to be eliminated and discretions will have to disappear”, said Jaitley.
The Finance Minister highlighted that the personal contact between the Income Tax Department and the assesse is gradually getting reduced with various reforms being taken by income tax department such as online filing of returns, online answering of queries, online orders and online refunds.
The minister highlighted the role of technology and mentioned “Technology for taxmen is a great facilitator. Detecting violations will be easier for the taxmen with the technology.” He also added that with the implementation of the GST, every transaction will get recorded and even the generation of black money will become difficult. Speaking about the tax rates under the scheme, he said that it is not easy to design such schemes and keeping ethical and legitimate considerations in mind, the rates under the scheme have been designed.
Earlier at the event, Hasmukh Adhia, Revenue Secretary, Ministry of Finance, gave a brief introduction to the scheme highlighting various benefits and providing clarity with respect to taxation, immunity, secrecy as well as valuation of assets under the scheme. He also informed that a fourth set of FAQs for the scheme has been put on the website of the department on Thursday.
Saurabh Garg, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Finance, highlighted various aspects of the Gold Monetisation Scheme introduced in November 2015 and discussed some of the key issues related to infrastructure, especially with respect to collection and testing centres.
He said that only 3.1 tonnes of gold has been deposited under the GMS till date which is way below the overall annual imports of 800-1000 tonnes of the metal. He expressed hope that with various initiatives, a part of the gold investment demand could shift towards the scheme. Harshavardhan Neotia, President, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, highlighted various initiatives taken by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry to promote the two schemes nationwide.