Better days are ahead for income tax officials, as the Government will soon notify amendments in the recruitment rules. This will facilitate promotions and direct recruitment, as approved under the cadre restructuring plan.
However, the Gazetted Officers Association of the Income Tax Department is not happy, as it wants the new posts of assistant commissioners to be filled in one go, through promotions.
“The Department of Personnel and Training is expected to issue amendments in the recruitment rules very soon,” a senior Revenue Department official told BusinessLine .
On May 23, the Cabinet approved the proposal for creation of 20,751 additional posts in the Tax Department. This includes 1,349 posts in the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) cadre and 19,402 posts in the non-IRS cadre.
Due to some procedural issues, the Department is facing vacancies at various levels. When the Cabinet approved the creation of additional posts, it permitted, as a one-time measure, filling up these posts through promotions, without amendments in the recruitment rules.
Accordingly, among others, 26 officials were promoted to the newly created grade of ‘principal chief commissioners of income tax’.
Now, 17 out of these 26 officials have retired. To top it, there are already four vacancies for members at the board level (sanctioned strength of seven, including Chairman). These vacancies are affecting decision making in the Department. As on August 1, posts vacant at the level of the chief commissioners stood at 30, principal commissioners at 330, commissioner at 208 and additional/joint commissioners over 700.
But, the real issue is at the level of assistant commissioner of income tax (ACIT), the entry level for Group ‘A’ service. Two sets of people are appointed at this level – those in the IRS and income tax officers. The cadre restructuring exercise decided to create 166 additional regular posts and 620 additional reserve posts at this. Along with 563 vacancies arising out of promotions at a higher grade, a total of 1,349 additional posts were created.
While all other newly created posts are to be filled in one go, for the assistant commissioner level, the condition is that additional posts are to be filled over five years. Every year, half of the posts are to be filled by direct recruitment and the remaining through promotions.
“This will leave most of the newly created posts at assistant commissioner level vacant for the first four years,” said Ajay Goyal, President of the Income Tax Gazetted Officers Association.
He said nearly 600 officers were awaiting promotions since the past 14 years, and will now have to wait longer. In the last cadre restructuring in 2001, around 1,000 additional posts of assistant commissioner were filled through promotions, he added.