India celebrates 150 years of income tax from Saturday

New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) India Saturday kicks off celebrations to mark 150 years of its Income Tax Department since British rule — a period that saw the mop-up grow from mere Rs.1.33 crore in 1860-61 to around Rs.380,000 crore (nearly $85 billion) last fiscal.

The relevant bill to set up the department was moved July 24, 1860 by the first member-finance of the Council of India James Wilson, who also founded The Economist magazine and the Standard Chartered Bank.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee will kick off the celebrations here by releasing a new charter for the income tax department to seeks to meet the aspirations of the people of India as also the third volume of a book titled ‘Let Us Share’.

A short documentary film on the journey of the 150-year-old department, anchored by actor Om Puri, will also be screened at the celebrations organised at the auditorium of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci).

This apart, an exhibition of paintings has also been organised to express the creative outpouring by officers of the department, and some celeated artists, at the AIFACS hall here July 25-30.

Several eminent artists like Dhiraj Chowdhury, Ganesh Haloi, Prakash Karmakar, Jogen Choudhury, Wasim Kapoor and Sunil Das joined some talanted artists in the department, including Bratati Mukherjee and Prasanna Kumar Dash, to showcase some 40 paintings.

According to information available in various archives, Wilson was specifically sent to India to set up its tax structure during the British rule, as also to introduce a new paper currency and establish a new financial system after the revolt of 1857.

He, incidentally, died a few days after the Council gave its nod for the new bill to set up the tax department. Often referred to as the forefather of India’s modern tax system system, he rests at a cemetery at Mullick Bazar in Kolkata.

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