‘I’ll give heaven, if I know what taxpayers want’: Sitharaman pulls up officers for not being in touch : 28-02-2020

Visibly upset with the widespread confusion over tax and compliance rules, ranging from GST to income taxes, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman took the matter into her own hands today and reprimanded government officers for not communicating the concerns of the industry leaders to her. Nirmala Sitharaman, at a post-Budget meeting in Guwahati, asked Finance Ministry officials to take up queries of industrialists and common people on a regular basis. She directed setting up of what could be called modern-day Diwan-e-Aam and asked officials in Guwahati to schedule two-hour meetings daily to hear and clarify people’s queries and concerns.

With the ongoing economic slump in the country, the pressure is tremendous on the government to spur demand and boost confidence. Addressing the same, FM Sitharaman said that she can bring heaven to people if people tell her what to do. “I came here to know from you what do you want me to do to improve the sentiment, improve the business confidence, remove criminality. You ask me today I’ll give you heaven but sometimes it may not be possible. It is for you to tell me,” she added.

Thanking tax practitioners for the “ground details”, she said that the report of these details should come from the officials themselves. “I actually want to thank some of the tax practitioners. This is the ground detail that’s coming,” she said. Irked by an apparent disconnect between the taxpayers and the officials in the region, Sitharaman asked an official present: “Do they contact you? Do they tell you all this? They have been very good to you, they are not telling you anything. They are telling me directly. If you had heard all this you would have said I’m getting all this from the ground.”

Meanwhile, the Finance Minister also acknowledged the constraints of her work and said that everything is not solely on her to fulfil. “Whatever I do from my side it won’t be appealing enough. You tell me, Madam, you do 10 things business confidence will improve. And of the 10, I may do two, three, four, whatever because it’s not singularly me,” she said.

Source : PTI