Whoever said that hankering after credit is only a politician’s call? Well, civil servants are no different. The success of Income Declaration Scheme (IDS), which netted almost Rs 66,000 crore (still counting), is a case in point. There’s a no-holds-barred overflow of messages in the IRS officers’ WhatsApp groups.
The Income Tax guys are not willing to give even part credit for the success of IDS to Revenue Secretary (RS) Hasmukh Adhia, who belongs to the IAS. One of the messages read: “Adhia wanted to lead IDS. This attitude of omniscience is the root cause of failure of many good schemes. Without knowing the nuances and subtleties of tax collection, he wanted to ride roughshod over experienced officers.”
The focus, obviously, is on the fact that Income Tax officers claim to have their nose to the ground, while the RS, they argue, focussed mainly on meetings and video conferencing to make IDS successful. Another message said: “High time they realise the power of search and surveys. And also RS should maintain respectable distance now!”
It is evident that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley doesn’t share that “arrogance” and has been keen to credit everyone, RS included, for the success of IDS.
But the jibes, rooted in classic rivalry between the IAS and all other services, seem to be crossing all limits. Else, why would someone go overboard to assert: “Let people realise that in spite of IAS fiddling, CBDT Chairman, an IRS officer, could deliver. More than our success, it’s the utter failure of RS that should be discussed, lest he starts taking undeserved credit.” Or sample this self-congratulatory message: “Without IDS also we’ve been doing a wonderful job. It has just made us realise it more. People see us making a failed scheme workable. People saw the department works without RS with hands-on approach. And people will see we work without certificates to show.”
Time for truce indeed – because good governance cannot be the claim of an individual or some single service! Did we not hear the political executive, headed by Prime Minister Modi, talk of “collective effort” from Day One?