By Shailesh Yadav
New Delhi [India], December 9 (ANI): Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officers should deal with the menace of black money with a heavy hand, Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra said on Thursday while interacting with the 74th batch of IRS officers.
"Black money is a menace. You need to come with very heavy hands on black money. You have to work hard right from the beginning. It has to be on your mind that you are the investigator. You have been chosen to curb the black money of this country and you will have to work for it. There should be the first aim in your life as to how to help honest taxpayers and how we should curb black money," he said.
Chandra said more and more IRS officers are devoting themselves to the Election Commission of India (ECI). The event was organised at India International Institute of Democracy & Election Management, New Delhi.
"You will have to develop your mindset right from the beginning that curbing black money is not only through the files you are seeing, but it is much bigger than that. If it is something that is happening. You are there to help us to strengthen democracy. We have got 930 million voters in the last elections. We have 10.5 lakh booths in the country. Last year, we have more than 300 election observers. We unearthed Rs. 1,000 crore of black money in the last election against Rs. 250 crore recovered in the earlier election. That is four times more than that," he noted.
Chandra said nowadays black money has become a complex phenomenon. The layering of the money, the transaction, the shell companies-- so you will have to have a thorough knowledge how the task should be done. The government has given you an important task for the country that you to have to raise the revenue of this country and come with an iron hand on the black money, he said.
The CEC said determination, commitment, and fairness were the ideals of civil services. He added that civil services provide a wide canvas for fulfilling one's aspirations and an opportunity to harness one's talent. CEC advised the youngsters to make excellence a habit and serve the nation with honesty and sincerity. He urged the OTs to be more friendly to honest taxpayers and come down heavily with an iron fist on tax evaders.
Recalling the initiatives taken as CBDT Chairman, he emphasized the need for introducing systemic changes for good governance. He mentioned the instrumental role of the comprehensive revision of Form 26, done in 2018, as a format for declaring details of all assets and liabilities, submitted along with nomination papers, by the contesting candidates.
Chandra noted, "This batch of IRS Officer Trainees is the second-ever batch of any Group A service which is being trained in the electoral process, as an integral part of its probationer training programme." He highlighted that IRS Officers, with their deep knowledge of expenditure monitoring, finance, and accounting, have proven to be an asset to ECI's election monitoring process.
Acknowledging the importance of expenditure monitoring during the elections, Chandra said that ECI is committed to ensuring free, fair, and inducement-free elections in the country. He added that many IRS officers as Expenditure Observers play a vital role in ensuring that money power does not vitiate the level playing field amongst the contesting candidates. While sharing his experience of deputing Special Expenditure Observers, he mentioned that some recent elections have in fact been rescinded purely because of the vigilant role played by senior IRS officers.
Chandra asked the young officers to discharge their duties sincerely so that they also play an exemplary role and contribute their expertise in ensuring free, fair, and transparent elections. (ANI)