Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

Revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia on his priorities

Adhia's focus will be on increase in transparency through use of technology to make it easier for taxpayers and get rid of corrupt officers

New Delhi: Simplification of rules and procedures, cleaning up the tax department and ensuring preparedness of both the centre and the states for implementation of the goods and services tax will be the key priorities of Hasmukh Adhia, the new revenue secretary in the finance ministry.

Speaking to reporters shortly after taking charge on Tuesday, Adhia, a 1981 batch Indian Administrative Service officer of the Gujarat cadre, said he will focus on increasing transparency through use of technology to make it easier for taxpayers and get rid of corrupt officers.

“I will try to identify bad elements in the tax department and ensure that they do not spoil the name of the tax department," he said.

He, however, rejected the contention of tax terror being prevalent in India. “I don’t think there is any tax terror kind of a thing. Every department will have good and bad elements. It’s not that I’m saying only in the tax department," he said.

Adhia also said he will visit every state to check their level of GST preparedness. “I want to ensure that the centre and the states are ready for implementing GST once the bills get passed," he said.

The government hopes to implement GST from 1 April 2016 but uncertainty exists with the constitutional amendment bill awaiting Rajya Sabha’s clearance.

Adhia has been closely involved with GST in his stint as finance secretary in the Gujarat government before he was appointed secretary in the department of financial services, ministry of finance, last year. He replaces Shaktikanta Das, who took charge as the secretary, department of economic affairs.

Adhia also encouraged whistleblowers to write to him on and assured them full secrecy. He sought feedback and suggestions from the general public to improve the tax administration. “We will do whatever is just and fair," he said.

Adhia, however, did not answer any questions on some of the controversial issues being considered by the tax department including a final decision on the levy of minimum alternate tax on foreign portfolio investors.