A full-scale revolt has rocked the Gujarat Income-Tax Department since September 19, when dozens of officials launched a protest against “anti-employee policies” of Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax (PrCCIT) Ravindra Kumar. Lack of promotions for the past several years is the main bone of contention.
Income-Tax officers from Surat, Anand, Rajkot, Vadodara and other centres are actively participating in the agitation, and have decided to line up in front of Kumar’s office at Aaykar Bhavan in Ahmedabad every Monday and Friday.
The protesting taxmen have six major demands. These are:
1: Rectify the deviation done during the annual general transfer (AGT) 2022 across cadres and strictly follow the mutually agreed transfer policy;
2: Conduct ad-hoc promotion immediately in the cadre of Income-Tax Officer (ITO) as per the guidelines of Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) on priority basis;
3: Redress the issue of displacement of a large number of inspectors from the Vadodara region;
4: Regularisation of ad-hoc promotion of ITOs;
5: Changing of the deemed date of promotion to the date of the Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC); and
6: Cancel the transfer order of key office bearers of JCM functionary against the existing policy.
WHO FRAMED THE RULES?
The Income-Tax Employees Federation (ITEF) and the Income-Tax Gazetted Officers’ Association (ITGOA), which are at the forefront of the protest, say that the principal chief commissioner of Income-Tax, in this case Ravindra Kumar, has powers to green light promotions of Income-Tax officers but the entire exercise has been delayed. “We did not get a satisfactory answer from him (regarding the promotions). We don’t know what is the idea behind delaying our promotions,” a ITEF member said.
When VOI reached out to Kumar and his team for their version of the events, one of his teammates said that Kumar has no intentions to disrupt. “Commissioner of Income-Tax (CIT) Rajitha V is already working on fulfilling genuine demands of I-T officers. We are negotiating with the association heads and working on constructive suggestions by the association. We will definitely work on these suggestions,” a senior I-T officer from Kumar’s team told VOI.
Meanwhile, K Madhusudan, general secretary, Income Tax Employees Federation, squarely blamed Kumar and his team for the mess. “For the first time in over two decades, the Income-Tax officials have come together to demand justice. Promotions of I-T officers are due from the past five years. It was supposed to happen in 2017 and to date, there is no clarity on promotions. I-T inspectors have been working as inspectors for over 12 years. Over 400 officers across Gujarat are affected,” he said.
Another member of the association said that there were over 160 vacancies in the I-T Department and yet, most officers are given around three charges at a time. “I-T officers are overburdened and are not able to discharge their duties properly. The ultimate loss is of taxpayers,” the ITGOA member said.
The first round of protests was held on Monday, September 19, and according to a protesting member, “more than 400 officers stood in front of Kumar’s office at Aaykar Bhavan”. “It was a complete chakka jaam. There was no place to stand,” he said.
Yesterday (Friday), the protestors held the second round of agitation and decided to hit the roads every Monday and Friday. “From next month onwards, the agitating members will protest every day for an hour in front of the PrCCIT’s office,” Madhusudan warned.
K Sudhakaran, general secretary, ITGOA, told Vibes of India that their problem was with the I-T administration. “We are organising our protest inside the I-T office. If our demands are not met, we will come out on the roads. We are an association of over 3,000 officers and we will collectively put our demand before Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman,” he said.