NEW DELHI: There is disquiet in the Income Tax department over the slow progress in filling up more than 190 vacancies for Principal Commissioners, a rank above Commissioners, and around 50 at the level of Chief Commissioners and Principal Chief Commissioners, a secretary level post. Many of these vacancies are pending since 2019.
Officers at the level of Principal Commissioners are administrative heads of the I-T department in zones with 3 to 5 lakh taxpayers under their assessment. These officers are crucial for tax administration across the country, facilitating collection as well as search and survey operations to curb evasions, said an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer.
The apex Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), which is the policy making and cadre controlling authority of the Income Tax, too, has four out of its six posts of Members vacant at present. The six-member Board has been functioning under a chairman who has been on extension for more than one-and-half years. Last week, the government gave the current chairman a third extension in absence of finding an “appropriate” candidate, an issue also riling the rank and file.
“The situation in the Board is more precarious with only two members in the apex Board, one being on extension. The crucial post of Member (Investigation) has been vacant for more than four years now and successive chairman holding it as additional charge,” said a senior IRS officer. Member Investigation in the CBDT has always been a prized posting with most of those holding the charge promoted later as chairman.
There are about 400 vacancies in the top leadership of the I-T department at the level of Commissioners and above. Most of these vacancies have been pending for lack of initiative by the CBDT which itself has been struggling with a lot of vacancies in the past few years, the officer added.
“Chief Commissioners have got order of promotion on December 31, 2020 but are still working as Principal Commissioners as they have not been posted by the CBDT,” the officer said. By December 31 next, 40 additional vacancies of Chief Commissioners will be created with more retirements in the current year.
According to sources, 85 vacancies of Principal Commissioners are pending since 2019, in addition, 55 fell vacant last year and 50 more will be added by December next. Even at the Principal Chief Commissioner level, a Secretary level post, 11 have been given promotions but they have not been posted yet. Similar has been the case with Chief Commissioners, at least 40 of them are still working at their previous charges while positions vacant are bundled as additional charges with the existing officers in the same rank.