'Whole cadre shaken up', say retired officers as CBDT reshuffles over 200 senior IRS officers across nation
As many as 222 officers serving as Principal Commissioners of Income Tax have been given transfer/posting orders, while 79 others have been asked to take additional charge, some in other cities
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the apex policy-making and administrative body of the Income Tax Department, has issued posting and transfer orders for Principal Commissioners of Income Tax (PCIT) which affect a whopping 222 IRS officers across the country.
A perusal of the order, a copy of which was seen by National Herald, shows that most of the posts whose additional charge was being held by officers serving as Chief Commissioners of Income Tax (CCIT) and Director Generals of Income Tax (DGIT), one rank higher than PCIT, have now been reverted to officers of the same rank, i.e. PCIT.
National Herald had earlier reported how an ignominious situation had been created when the CBDT last month issued an order directing as many as 35 officers in the rank of CCIT/DGIT to hold additional charge of PCIT/DIT level posts, junior to their rank, that too in stations thousands of miles away in several instances.
The development had been termed as “unprecedented”, “bizarre” and even “downright illegal” by senior retired IRS officers.
That situation now seems to have been rectified, probably in the face of criticism by media and retired officers.
However, even the latest order (no. 206 of 2021) has given additional charge of as many as 79 PCIT posts to officers holding other substantive posts, though in the same rank. Though most of these officers have are posted at the same stations, in some cases, the additional charges are of posts located in other cities.
For example, some PCITs posted in Kolkata have been asked to hold additional charge in cities like Siliguri, Burdwan and Asansol.
In Uttar Pradesh, officers posted in Lucknow, Allahabad and Meerut have been asked to hold additional charges in Faizabad, Gorakhpur and Muzaffarnagar respectively.
In case of the department’s Investigative wing, an officer posted at Raipur as Principal Director of Income Tax (PDIT) has been given additional charge of PDIT (Inv), Bhopal.
General Secretary of IRS Retired Officers' Association SR Wadhwa, a 1959 Batch IRS officer who retired as Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Madhya Pradesh, said that while the bizarre situation of giving additional charge of lower posts to senior officers has been dealt with, the new order still reflected issues with the posting policy with 79 officers ordered to hold additional charges.
“This additional charge business is not a healthy thing. Such a situation arises if some officer falls critically ill or some such contingency arises, that too for a short period of time. An official order asking 79 officers to hold additional charge ‘till further orders’ is not done. It just reflects how promotions and transfers are not being done at the right time in the department,” he said.
Another retired IRS officer, requesting anonymity, said that the order has shaken up the whole cadre, adding that it is unfair to ask the officers to shift, find new schools for their children etc in the midst of the pandemic.
“The posting/transfer of 222 officers en masse also means that the exchequer would bear a huge cost in the form of grant of allowances, air fare etc.,” he pointed out.
An officer, who too retired as CCIT, said, “The department should issue posting orders at reasonable periods of time rather than go for such a huge list at one go. This is nothing but governance deficit,” she said.
“There is also a possibility of officers lobbying to get their transfer orders modified to remain at the same station, especially those posted in metropolitans, where influential officers sometimes manage to spend decades at the same station or get posted to another metropolitan at the most. This has always been a huge issue in the department,” she added.
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Published: 21 Aug 2021, 3:29 PM