Charan Singh rejected PAN system for I-T

Charan Singh

Charan SinghNEW DELHI: India missed a golden opportunity to implement a fully computerized tax administration system way back in the late ’70s as a proposal by TCS was rejected by the then finance minister Charan Singh, claims a new book.

Management strategist-researcher Shashank Shah has come out with the book titled “The Tata Group: From Torchbearers to Trailblazers”, coinciding with the completion of 150 years of The Tata Group and the death anniversary of JRD Tata on November 29.

According to the author, after nationalization of banks by the Indira Gandhi government in 1969, there was declining business with banks as the Centre did not want computers in India.

“It believed that computerization would lead to mass unemployment. It is contextual to mention a fact that few know,” he claims.

Shah says that it was TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) that had developed the now ubiquitous permanent account number (PAN) system for the income tax department in 1977.

“Impressed by the output, the company was given an assignment to computerize the total processing of income tax. However, Charan Singh, then finance minister, decreed that there would be no computerization in the finance ministry as it could create unemployment!” he writes in the book, published by Penguin Random House India.

“If implemented then, India would have been far ahead of several countries through a fully computerized tax administration system,” Shah claims. PTI

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