New Delhi: India Saturday celebrated 150 years of the Income Tax Department in the country -- a period that saw the mop-up grow from a mere Rs.1.33 crore in 1860-61 during the British rule to some Rs.380,000 crore (nearly USD 85 billion) last fiscal.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee kicked off the celebrations here by releasing a new charter for the Income Tax Department that, he said, seeks to meet the aspirations of the people of India.
Mukherjee also recollected that the relevant bill to set up the Income Tax Department was moved July 24, 1860 by the first member-finance of the Council of India, James Wilson, who also founded The Economist magazine.
"This act was precursor to modern income tax law in the country. On this very special day, the department should rededicate itself to partnering the nation-building process through progressive tax policy, efficient and effective administration."
The finance minister said Wilson was specifically sent to India by the British rulers to set up its tax structure, as also to introduce a new paper currency and establish a new financial system after the revolt of 1857.
He, incidentally, died a few days after the Council gave its nod for the new bill to set up the tax department. "His grave was recently rediscovered in Kolkata by an officer of the Income Tax Department and restored."
During the celebrations a short documentary on the 150-year journey of the tax department, anchored by actor Om Puri, was also screened at the auditorium of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci).
This apart, an exhibition of paintings has also been organised to showcase the creative outpouring of officers of the department, and some celebrated artists, at the AIFACS hall here July 25-30.
Several eminent artists like Dhiraj Chowdhury, Ganesh Haloi, Prakash Karmakar, Jogen Choudhury, Wasim Kapoor and Sunil Das joined some talented artists in the department, including Bratati Mukherjee and Prasanna Kumar Dash, to showcase some 40 paintings.