CITU comes in support of suspended IRS officers

Coronavirus lockdown: CITU comes in support of IRS officers suspended over report suggesting higher taxes for super-rich

The CPI(M)-backed Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) on Tuesday came in support of 50 Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officers facing disciplinary action for recommending higher taxes for the super-rich to mobilise resources following the COVID-19 panic.

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In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, CITU General Secretary Tapan Sen said the government action to charge sheet three IRS officers and institute enquiry against others was "thoroughly unjust and autocratic", that too in response to the collective opinion of a professional body like IRS Association on matters well within their professional competence and eligibility.

Also read — Three IRS officers suspended after suggesting income tax hike to fight coronavirus

He said as such, the CITU has been demanding since long 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 and common populace through various cuts in subsidies and welfare expenditures besides heavier indirect taxation on essential commodities through GST route.

"Therefore, the suggestions highlighted by the 'FORCE' merits serious consideration by the government in the interests of people at large and also the national economy," he said.

The IRS Association had recently publicised a report '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 the pandemic.

As the suggestions created unease in a section, the government swung into action taking action, saying they have violated service rules by coming out in public with their recommendations.

Sen said the IRS Association has been in existence since long and the government also recognises and deals with them on various matters. The IRS Association is well within its rights to ventilate their collective opinion in the matter for which nobody should be charge-sheeted or penalised as an individual and in that sense, the action by the government is "undemocratic, an infringement of rights to association, and needs to be revoked", he said.

On Monday, CPI(M) MP A M Ariff also wrote to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman demanding that the government to take the recommendations "positively" and withdraw the disciplinary actions against the officers. 

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