Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated Office-cum-Residential Complex of Cuttack Bench of Income Tax Appellate Tribunal through video conference today. Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister for Law & Justice and Communications and Electronics & Information Technology, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel, Shri Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister of Odisha, Shri Anoop Kumar Mendiratta, Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs, Justice P.P. Bhatt, President, Income Tax Appellate Tribunal and other dignitaries were present during the event.
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said this bench would now provide modern facilities not only to Odisha, but to millions of taxpayers of Eastern and North Eastern India and help in disposing off all the pending cases in this region.
The Prime Minister said today, the country is moving from Tax Terrorism to Tax Transparency. He added that this change has come due to the approach of Reform, Perform and Transform. He said rules and procedures are being reformed with the help of technology. He said “We are performing with clear intentions and at the same time transforming the mindset of the tax administration.”
The Prime Minister said when the difficulties of the country’s wealth creator are reduced, they get protection, then their trust grows in the country’s systems. He added the result of this growing trust is that more and more partners are coming forward to join the tax system for the development of the country. The Prime Minister remarked that along with the reduction of tax and simplicity in the process, the biggest reforms that have been done are related to the dignity of honest taxpayers, to protect them from trouble.
The Prime Minister said the thought process in the government is to trust the income tax return completely at first after being filed. As a result of this, 99.75 percent of the returns filed in the country today are accepted without any objection. He said it is a big change in the country’s tax system.
Shri Modi said the long period of slavery had made the relationship between tax payer and the tax collector that of exploited and exploiters. He said over the years, the government has moved ahead with this vision and today’s taxpayer is witnessing huge changes and transparency in the entire tax system. He said when the taxpayer does not have to wait months for a refund and gets a refund within a few weeks, then he feels transparency. When he sees that the department has resolved the age-old dispute on its own, then he feels transparency. When he enjoys faceless appeal, then he feels tax transparency. When he sees that income tax is continuously decreasing, then he feels more tax transparency.
The Prime Minister attributed zero tax on income up to Rs 5 lakh in the country as a huge benefit being given to our youth of lower middle class today. He added that the new option of income tax given in the budget this year, has simplified the lives of the taxpayer. He said to speed up the pace of development and make India more investment friendly a historic cut has been made in corporate tax. He said the tax rate for new domestic manufacturing companies has been set at 15 percent for the country to become self-sufficient in manufacturing. He added Dividend Distribution Tax has also been scrapped to increase investment in India’s equity market. GST has also reduced the tax net and the tax rate in most goods and services has also come down. He said ease of doing business has improved in the country as a result of reducing the burden of disputes by increasing the limit of appeal from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 50 lakh in ITAT and to Rs 2 crore in Supreme Court.
The Prime Minister expressed satisfaction that the IT Appellate Tribunal is also upgrading its Benches across the country for Virtual Hearing and said it is very important to upgrade the entire system in the era of technology. He stressed that more and more use of technology especially in our judiciary has started giving new convenience to the citizens of the country.
Law Minister Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad specially thanked Shri Naveen Patnaik for positive attitude of the State Government in allocation of land for the building complex of Cuttack Bench of ITAT free of cost. Hepraised ITAT for using technology including digital filing and digital hearing to impart speedier justice. He said, “Hearing of around25 lakh cases has been done through virtual mode during lockdown period i.e. from 24th March 2020 to 31st August, 2020.Among these 8632 cases by Supreme court; 6,881,318 cases by High Courts; 19,33,492 cases by subordinate courts and around 8000 virtual appeals by ITAT have been heard virtually.