He said this while replying to a brief discussion on the Budget after which the Upper House returned the Finance Bill and other bills completing the budgetary exercise for General as well as Railways Budgets.
Chidambaram assured the members that government would address human resources, technology and time to improve tax collection and deal with the menace of tax evasion.
Noting that the revenue department was working under several limitations, the Minister said, it must “adopt technology (and)…non-invasive ways of collecting taxes and I am sure that (these efforts) will produce better results in 2013-14.”
He said that recently a Group of Ministers (GoM) has been constituted to address the human resources issues in the tax department and undertake restructuring of the cadre of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).
On efforts to recover tax arrears, he admitted that much more was needed to be done to deal with the issue and raise revenue.
“There are tax payers, tax evaders and those who help the tax evaders. It is a shame that only 42,800 people in this country admit to having more than Rs 1 crore income”, he said, adding “I will encourage them to recover more tax arrears.”
“There are some tax arrears that are purely notional. For example, in the Harshad Mehta case, there are tax arrears running into lakhs of crores…”, he added.
He said the amount of tax arrears recovered by the revenue department have increased significantly during the last three years, mainly on account of the efforts undertaken by the officers.
“I agree more efforts need to be made to recover more taxes arrears, but I compliment the department for working,” he said.