Thursday 8 October 2009

IT Calling

Got a letter from the IT Department, Government of India. My returns had been randomly selected by the computer for scrutiny under the CAAS system.

The Parel, Mumbai office of the IT Commissioner was a godown. The 3rd floor, where I was to meet the case officer was a mess. Piled with personal and corporate income tax returns on the floor, on racks nine feet high, on desks, on every available space, a hundred bound together with white strings. All dusty and dirty.

The Income Tax Officers and lesser mortals sweating it out in that dust-mote paradise with ancient fans whirring overhead. They don't even have a desktop yet. It is one of the 'demands' made by the labour union on a large, red lettered poster stuck in the landing.

The commissioner, there were many for each ward/zone, had a cabin with a comfortable air-conditioner and the works. But still it was a dumpy office. Certainly can imagine the vengeance they must be generating in their minds to go after cases of the rich and untaxed just by walking into that hell-hole everyday.

The above was the government not providing them facilites like air-conditioning, computers and filing systems and furniture.

But what about cleaning, dusting and sweeping the premises? The inside of the office had large pillars, and on each of them, four feet high, were countless blood-red pan and gutka stains spat out with gay abandon. Wall corners inside the office were doubling up as spittoons. The toilet was stinking. Plastic chairs for visitors dirty and broken. The water cooler was so dirty that touching it was a risk.

Do these people hate what they do so much that they couldn't care?

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