NEW DELHI: More than 8,000 officers of the Income Tax department across the country have become tech-savvy as the government has provided them with brand new laptops under an incentive scheme.

The laptops have the advanced Windows Vista Business operating system with an encrypting file feature, a password protected shared documents folder, a two GB Random Access Memory (RAM), four USB drives and an extended battery backup system.

The laptops are being distributed right from the top level of the tax department– from the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairman to the level of Income Tax Officer (ITO).

“They are being distributed under the one per cent incentive scheme for tax department officials for earning additional revenue during the year 2006-07 and 2007-08,” a Finance Ministry official said. Former finance minister P Chidambaram had announced the incentive scheme at the start of this year in order to enhance the infrastructure of tax collection departments- – CBDT and CBEC– and make them tech savvy.

Income Tax sleuths will further also be provided with communication data cards to surf the internet and work even from outside the office. Looking at the large amount of data and sensitivity of the documents processed by the tax department, the laptops are armed with a backup and restore center which makes protecting and recovering information easier.

“The laptops will help to carry and retain case details with ourselves even if our departments or directorates are changed,” a senior IT official said. Advanced technology tools are essential in both tax collection and detection of cases as the department handles a lot of data and information, the official added.

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