There is heartening news about the Income Tax department slapping show cause notices on more than 300 individuals of high net worth in the Northeast who had stashed more than Rs 1 crore in cash each into their respective bank accounts after the demonetization phase. One of the facts worth cheering over is that even a region like the Northeast with poor industrial and economic activity now has more than 300 individuals who are comparatively well-to-do, even if the majority of them might happen to be people from outside the State who have come to the region from elsewhere in search of economic activities. The other fact worth cheering over is that the Income Tax department would not have been aware of these individuals had the demonetization initiative not been launched. Ever since it was launched, there has been no dearth of economists who have run down the demonetization initiative as an economic blunder of sorts that should not have happened. We were a sort of exception in having claimed that demonetization at least increased the number of income-tax assesses even if it did not achieve anything else. India has about the smallest number of income-tax payers in terms of a percentage of the total population. So if the demonetization initiative has been able to identify over 300 more individuals with high net worth (who will become income-tax payers) in the Northeast alone, it must have unearthed many more new income-tax assesses all over the country because millions of individuals all over India must have deposited large sums of money into their bank accounts. Actually, in the Northeast alone, there were over 12,000 cases of individuals having deposited large sums of money in their bank accounts, the threshold amount being Rs 10 lakh. Of these, over 2,700 have complied with income-tax norms. That leaves about 9,300 cases. An estimate for the entire country should yield interesting figures.
Gunning for Tax Evaders