Taxing lesson for school kids

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on July 25, 2011

‘Catch them young' is the new mantra of the 150-year-old Income Tax Department. School children will soon have a lesson on the importance of paying income tax as part of their curriculum.

Mr P.P. Srivastava, Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Mumbai, said, “We are in discussion with various State governments to educate school children on the role of income tax in nation building. It will be made part of their academic syllabus. The idea behind the whole exercise is to make the future generation pay taxes willingly”.

Speaking at an event in Mumbai to mark the culmination of a year-long celebration of 150 years of Income Tax in India, Mr Srivastava said the Department's contribution to the exchequer has come a long way with a humble contribution of just Rs 30 lakh in 1860-61 to Rs 4.4 lakh crore in 2010-11 and the Government has set a target of Rs 5.3 lakh crore for this fiscal which is 20 per cent higher compared to last year.

“It is worth mentioning that the Department has achieved the feat with the cost of 0.7 per cent which is considered the lowest in the world,” he said on Sunday.

Emphasising the need for more people to pay their taxes honestly, Mr S.S.N. Moorthy, former-Chairman, Central Board of Direct Taxes, said of the population of 100 crore in India there are only 3.5 crore tax payers.

Mr K. Sankaranarayanan, Governor of Maharashtra, said the business community should voluntarily pay their taxes while chartered accountants and the tax auditors should restrain from finding loopholes in the system.

“Tax consultants give lot of advises to avoid tax, but at the 11th hour when trouble comes those people will leave you in lurch. So, it is always advisable to pay your tax in advance,” he said.

Coming down heavily on black money, Mr Sankaranarayanan said money cannot buy everything in life. Some people have tonnes of money and best of luxury in life including air-condition car and swanky rooms. “Now these people are not in their AC bedrooms, but somewhere else”.


Income Tax in India was first introduced by Sir James Wilson in July 24, 1860. It faced stiff opposition as it was a selective tax imposed on the rich, royalty and Britishers. The Act lapsed in 1865 and was re-introduced in 1867 with tax rates based on a ‘rough-and-ready assessment'.

The most comprehensive Income Tax law was brought about through the Income Tax Act of 1922. Enacted amidst a highly charged atmosphere of the Non-cooperation Movement, the Act of 1922, laid the ground for the growth of the Income Tax Department.

In 1924, tax administration was effectively centralised in the hands of the Central Board of Revenue. The Central Board of Direct Taxes and Central Board of Excise and Customs for administering direct and indirect taxes were created through the Central Board of Revenue Act, 1963.

In 1970-71, a numeric-alphabetic Permanent Account Number (PAN) consisting of 9 digits and 2 letters was attempted, but failed due to lack of computer technology.

The menace of tax evasion that had existed since Second World War became alarming early 70s. The Department launched special drive and conducted 2,029 searches in 1974-75 as against 538 searches in 1973-74.

A Voluntary Disclosure Scheme was launched in 1975 that bought to light Rs 1,500 crore of undisclosed income and wealth as against Rs 267 crore disclosed during the earlier schemes of 1951 and 1965. The then Chairman of CBDT Mr S. R. Mehta was awarded the Padma Bhushan. Direct tax collection in 1974-75 stood at Rs 1,632.02 crore.

In 1994, a 10 digit alphanumeric number PAN was re-launched. More than 12 crore PAN cards have been allotted till date.

Published on July 25, 2011

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