pm modi taxmen seminar Rajasv Gyan Sangam
pm modi taxmen seminar Rajasv Gyan SangamPIB India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday that the number of taxpayers needs to double from the existing base of 5.43 crore, even as he stressed the need to remove the "fear of harassment" by the taxman from the minds of taxpayers.

Modi "underlined the need" to increase the current base of 5.43 crore taxpayers to 10 crore while speaking at "Rajasva Gyan Sangam," the two-day annual event of direct and indirect tax officials, PTI quoted Jayant Sinha, minister of state for finance as saying.

Modi exhorted the officials to stress on administration, revenue, accountability, probity, information and digitisation (RAPID) and remove the "trust deficit" currently prevailing among taxpayers.

A government statement quoted Modi as saying that people should fear the law, not the tax administrators. 

Income tax (direct tax) collections for financial year 2015-16 stood at Rs. 7.48 lakh crore, lower than the revised estimate of Rs. 7.52 lakh crore.

India saw a decline in income taxpayers between financial years 2012-13 and 2013-14.

In 2013-14 (assessment year 2014-15), 4.87 crore individuals paid taxes, down from 4.90 crore in the previous year. There were 5.17 crore (provisional) income tax payees in financial year 2013-14 (assessment year 2014-15). 

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha are also attending the two-day conference.