The Income Tax department has struck an estimated Rs 50 crore deal with state-owned telecom company BSNL to provide 51,000 mobile connections and one thousand high-end Blackberry phones for secure and fast communication amongst its officers and staff. The department’s new telecom kitty, formulated to help I-T officials to enhance their speed of communication for official work, has a heavy shopping list with the joint network of BSNL and MTNL.

This provides for supply of 51,000 mobile connections, 22,000 landline connections, 8,000 3G datacards with 5GB downlaod per month, 1,000 Blackberry phones, 5,000 broadband connections and unlimited free SMS facility to the entire network of BSNL/MTNL.

The department has provided the latest Blackberry ‘torch’ model, sporting a price tag of about Rs 30,000 per piece, to all the Chief Commissioners and Commissioners of Income Tax in the country to ensure fast monitoring of operations and activities of the department and keep secure all classified information exchanged between the top brass.

While the department will pay about Rs 5 crore for the procurement of hardware devices as one-time payment, an annual sum of Rs 40 crore will be paid to the telecom company for using its network and infratrsucture, sources said.

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The department is obviously buoyed by the increase in the overall direct tax collections over a period of time and the new package to the I-T department is a recognition of the efforts, they said.

The new lumpsum package will save huge revenue of the I-T department which went as bills for such facilities earlier. A custom-made package for the department was planned to streamline the facilities related to mobiles, fax and internet connections without which work is impossible, they said.

The new package, termed “Project Tarang”, will replace all existing official telecom facilities in the department.

The department has also planned a detailed plan of action for the distribution of these facilities to its officials and offices across the country, the sources said.

Under the new plan, mobile connections will be distributed upto the level of group ‘C’ officials while broadband facility will be installed at the residences of all group ‘A’ (Indian Revenue Service) officers.

Also the landline phones will be installed at the residences of the IRS officers and officials of the rank of Income Tax Officer (ITO).

“All calls among mobile and landline connections as well as on all telephones of the BSNL/MTNL all over the country, would be free. There will be no STD or roaming charges. On every mobile, there will be 400 minutes per month free calls made to connections of other service providers. On every landline there will be 300 calls per month free for calls on mobiles/landline of other service providers,” an official communication of the department informing it’s cadre of the new facilities, said.

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