These recruitments will take place in a phased manner. While 800 of them will be recruited as Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officers in Group A, remaining over 18,000 will be employed as Group B and Group C officials.
"The proposal will now go to the Cabinet. The recruitment drive will be launched after getting Cabinet approval," an official said.
Sources said the GoM -- comprising finance minister P Chidambaram, home minister Sushilkumar Shinde, environment and forests minister Jayanthi Natarajan and minister of personnel V Narayanasamy - also decided to extend the rank and pay of special secretaries to chief commissioners of large income tax zones and to chiefs of various directorates under the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).
It is learnt that the group of ministers gave its nod to increase the strength of IRS and other income tax officials despite opposition to it from Narayanasamy who argued that other departments may ask for increasing the strength of their respective cadres once the government allows it for income tax department.
The proposal was, however, cleared when the finance minister convincingly spoke on the merit of the decision. Ministers, during a brief meeting, agreed that the move will significantly increase the efficiency of tax administration at the time when the government is committed to increase its tax collection besides providing better and faster delivery of services.
The finance minister is learnt to have dismissed the argument that creating a higher number of senior positions would lead to problems pointing out that even states such as Andhra Pradesh had several chief secretary rank officials and there were more director general of police in place than the number of states. He noted that his ministry was going to undertake a restructuring of roles of the officials in order to ensure a greater mopping up of taxes.
It was pointed out in the meeting that the move would not only help tax payers in getting quicker refunds, but would also detect the high net worth individuals who, at times, either escape the tax net or just end up under-paying taxes.