I-T Dept: Figuring it out with a paintbrush

Aditi Nigam New Delhi | Updated on July 20, 2011

Mr S.S. Palanimanickam, Minister of State for Finance, along with Mr Durgesh Shankar, senior CBDT member, at the art exhibition to mark 150 years celebration of Income-Tax at Lalit Kala Akademi in New Delhi. -- Photo: Sandeep Saxena   -  The Hindu

The Income-Tax Department marks 150 years by holding an art exhibition in Delhi

Think of the Income-Tax Department, and the picture that floats in front of one’s eyes is stacked up files and almirahs with paint peeling off. Well, there’s another side to this picture — full of colour and imagination, created by the department’s in-house talent.

Looking beyond numbers and raids, the I-T Department has brushed off its drab image in celebrating 150 years of its existence. It is holding an art exhibition in Delhi, the outcome of a workshop held in Kolkata last year.

It was on July 24, 1860 that income-tax as a tool of collecting revenue was introduced in India by James Wilson, Finance Member of the Viceroy’s Council. Through the years, the department has become one of the largest contributors to the national exchequer.

“The art exhibition is the brainchild of Mr Durgesh Shankar (senior CBDT member, who has had stints with the Crafts Museum and Central Cottage Industries Corp). We wanted to bring to the fore the talent within the department,” Ms Bulbul Sen, Chief Commissioner of Income Tax and Co-ordinator of the Celebrations, told Business Line.

Curated by Padma Shri awardee, Mr Keshav Malik, the exhibits are a mix of paintings by top artists such as Anjolie Ela Menon, Jogen Chowdhury, Arpana Caur, Yusuf Arakkal, local arists and amateurs as well as IT officers and staff family members.

“The workshop’s theme was — The Role of Income-Tax in Nation-building, and the response was amazing” Ms Sen said. Some creations combine ideas with colour, such as a painting that depicts how tax revenues can be used for women’s education. Also, there’s one about scams and the drain on taxpayers’ money.

The exhibits by 136 artists include paintings by Bratati Mukherjee, Sangeeta Gupta and PK Das, all IT officers, she added.

Ms Sen said 18 such workshops and exhibitions will be held in cities falling within the jurisdiction of the Chief Commissioners of IT.

As of now, selected paintings will adorn the walls of the Finance Minister and the Minister of State’s chambers. The rest will head to the National Academy of Direct Taxes in Nagpur.

Published on July 20, 2011

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