PDP Ministers stalling IT collection from Kashmir valley

In an unfortunate development, some Ministers of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have stalled collection of Income Tax from the Kashmir valley on the unfounded excuse that such a move would lead to turmoil in the region. This unwarranted act on their part has sent a wrong signal across the country and is being viewed very seriously at various quarters.
According to the reliable information, by following the directives of the Central Board of Direct Taxes regarding widening of tax base, the Income Tax Department few months back issued notices to those persons, who were not filing Income Tax returns, in different parts of Jammu and Kashmir. This exercise was initiated strictly as per the provisions of the Income Tax Act.
As the stipulated time-frame for responding to the notices expired, the department decided to follow the steps explicitly mentioned in the Act and accordingly surveys were planned in different parts of Jammu and Kashmir.
After successfully carrying out this exercise in Jammu, the Department planned to focus on Kashmir valley particularly in Srinagar city early this month. The Income Tax sleuths approached the Jammu and Kashmir Police for necessary assistance for carrying out surveys in few business establishments.
However, some police officers played the mischief and instead of sticking to their duty of extending help to the Income Tax Department leaked information to the businessmen and traders in the Srinagar city. This led to intervention as some businessmen having political links brought the matter to the notice of some Ministers of the People’s Democratic Party.
Then some of the PDP Ministers started ringing up one after another officer of the Income Tax Department with the ‘direction’ to refrain from carrying out surveys in Kashmir valley on the unfounded ground that their (IT sleuths) action would lead to ‘turmoil’. However, the Ministers failed to explain as to what sort of turmoil the Valley will face due to compliance to the notices of the Income Tax Department by the businessmen and traders.
“In this way, they got the exercise stalled well before its take off”, sources said, adding “since police assistance was not expected in view of political interventions, the IT sleuths preferred not to put their lives to risk by going to the businessmen and traders in the absence of protection”.
According to the available information, political intervention of highest level in the functioning of any Central Government department was not seen in Kashmir valley even during the peak of militancy. By stalling income tax collection from the Valley, the PDP Ministers have created roadblock in the nation building as the collected tax goes to the Central Pool of the Direct Taxes and then the J&K like other States gets its share, which is ultimately used for the developmental activities.
“Moreover, by resorting to unwarranted act the erring PDP Ministers are sending a message against payment of taxes among the people, which would not auger well in future”, observers said, “moreover, the Income Tax Department was not going to loot the people but will only make them to pay tax as per their exact income”.
Further, stalling collection of Income Tax from Kashmir valley has no ground particularly at a time when it is being stated very loudly that situation has improved considerably and inflow of tourists, which generates economic activities in the region, is increasing sharply, the observers further said while expressing concern over the act of the PDP Ministers.
“Union Government has explicitly stated that they would account for each and every penny to be spent in Jammu and Kashmir out of over Rs 88,000 crore package announced recently by the Prime Minister but what message the act of some PDP Ministers would send remains a million dollar question”, the observers remarked.

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