Address by Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, Honourable Vice President at the Valediction Ceremony of the 74th Batch of Indian Revenue Service (Income Tax) at National Academy of Direct Taxes (NADT) at Nagpur on April 29, 2022.

Nagpur | April 29, 2022

“Dear officers of the 74th batch of IRS,

I am sure that today must be a proud moment for all of you as you successfully complete your sixteen months of training and are eagerly looking forward to join your postings in the field.

Congratulations to all of you on joining a civil service that gives you new avenues to serve the people of our nation.

Dear friends,

India, as an Independent nation and the world’s largest democracy, has achieved considerable progress during the last 75 years.

As we celebrate the journey of seven and half of decades of independent India as “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav” this year, one of the facts we can legitimately be proud of is the remarkable role played by the civil servants of our country not only in maintaining the unity, integrity and security of our nation but also enhancing its dignity in the comity of nations and fostering national development in different domains.

You are the latest entrants to this dedicated group of managerial leaders who have done India proud over the years through hard work, sincerity and commitment to public welfare.

I am sure you will keep that same spirit of service and dedication to constitutional values alive in your individual career.

This is vital for enhancing your efficiency and enriching the quality of lives of people you will serve.

Though your induction course is completed, your learning will not stop. It will continue once you join and take charge of your work. During your stay here, you must have learnt most of the theoretical aspects of the work that you will be engaged in. As you begin to occupy responsible positions, you will be applying this knowledge and many of the skills you have imbibed here. You will most likely encounter new situations and challenges as you start working and carry out your duties. You will have to take crucial decisions on the same key issues. You will have to respond to an ever-evolving work environment.

I am hopeful that the training you have received here will provide you with the most useful tools to make the right decision.

That’s what the training programmes are intended to be.

To give you the required orientation to proceed in the right direction, confidently and competitively.

The training should give you the value orientation as well. What are “the values” that guide your decision making? What outcomes are you intending to achieve? What drives you to work hard every day? What gives you the personal and professional satisfaction at the end of the day?

I would urge you to remember that the country expects a high order of efficiency and integrity from all civil servants especially those in leadership positions. You must shape your working life by recognising and realising every opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of people. You must set a high benchmark and achieve it so that the system as a whole gets energised and improved.

Dear Friends.

We are not content with the status quo. We want to convert our Swaraj into Suraj or good governance. The Prime Minister’s clarion call of reform, perform, transform must inspire you to emerge as transformational leaders.

The Indian Revenue service performs a very important function of collecting direct taxes, and your efforts contribute in an important way to the building of the nation. Taxes are not always welcomed by people, and yet we need to collect them through customer friendly methods. In fact, since it is the tax payers who sustain the government, you must de-mystify the tax laws and procedures so that tax compliance becomes the norm and citizens pay taxes on time, willingly and effortlessly.

In the Mahabharata, there is a very apt analogy that will be of relevance to you, It is said that a ruler should extract taxes from the people in the same way as honey bee extracts nectar from the flowers. It draws nectar without harming the flower itself. This lesson, one of the oldest principles of tax policy, is still as relevant as it was then. You must also remember it and follow it in your career.

We need to collect taxes and increase revenue but do it in a manner that is not arbitrary and unjust. It should be transparent and user-friendly. A good tax administration is the bedrock of national development. It is one of the pillars of good governance.

It is here that the role of tax administrators becomes so important, and you will have to carry out this role to perfection if you want India to reach its full potential.

Your role is crucial from two perspectives.

First, you need to ensure tax compliance and ensure adequate revenue collection for the government. This is essential for the creation of all public goods, including our national defense machinery and public infrastructure.

Second, you need to be able to do this with minimum adverse impact on taxpayers, just like the honey bee does not impact the flowers. This is also essential for the growth of a robust economy. If taxpayers continue to grow in their respective productive activities, both the national GDP and the revenue collections will continue to grow.

Therefore, it is important to continue our efforts towards creating a stable and predictable tax regime, to further simplify the tax system, promote voluntary compliance by taxpayers, and reduce litigation. Complex and tedious processes should give way to user-friendly, transparent and objective tax administration.

It is heartening to note that the government, in recent years, has introduced various initiatives to provide a non-intrusive and non-adversarial tax ecosystem. Introduction of new ‘Updated Return’ in this year’s budget is an affirmative step in the direction of voluntary tax compliance. Similarly, the focus on litigation management to avoid repetitive appeals by the Tax Department is also worth appreciating. I firmly believe that interaction between taxpayers and taxmen should be characterized by a spirit of trust, transparency and mutual respect.

I am glad to note that the Government, with its strong commitment to ‘minimum government & maximum governance’, is consistently working to improve ‘Ease of Doing Business’ and ‘Ease of Living’ in the country. It is commendable that in the last few years, more than 25,000 compliances have been reduced and 1486 Union laws have been repealed.  I must compliment CBDT for ushering in many far-reaching policy measures like ‘Honoring the Honest’, Faceless Regime and adoption of the Taxpayers’ Charter.

Technology can be a great enabler in our endeavour towards creating a transparent and taxpayer-friendly administration. I am happy to note the government’s efforts in the direction of digital economy & fintech and technology enabled development. Leveraging digital technology is crucial for financial inclusion, ease of service delivery and plugging leakages from various welfare schemes.

Dear friends,

Taxes are not just a source of revenue for the government but also an effective instrument for achieving desired socio-economic objectives. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruption to economies worldwide, but we are on a path of recovery and India’s economic growth in the current year is estimated to be 9.2 per cent, the highest among all large economies. We are celebrating the 75th year of our independence and the Prime Minister has set-out the vision for India@100. I would appeal to every person to work for making India a developed, prosperous and happy society in the coming years.

Dear young officers,

You have a long career ahead of you. You must not get overwhelmed by the challenges and difficulties faced in discharge of your duties. You must be adept at seeking solutions through consultation and learning from best practices across the world. You must be receptive to new ideas and willing to listen and absorb. You must be intellectually agile, constantly reforming the way public services are delivered.  I wish you all the best in all your future endeavours. I am sure that wherever you get your posting, you will work hard and work smart to contribute to a strong and prosperous India.

I would also like to take this opportunity to appreciate the officers and faculty members of this Academy for training the young officers as per the contemporary and futuristic needs of the tax administration in the country.

I also take this opportunity to congratulate the Central Board of Direct Taxes for their success in ensuring highest ever income tax collections this year, and also for all their efforts in implementing the Faceless Assessment Scheme of the Government of India. Changes are never easy, but you have managed this radical citizen friendly initiative very well so far, and with time, I am sure it will all become even better.

With these words, let me wish each one of you present here, all the best in life and all your endeavors.

Thank you! Jai Hind!”