New Delhi: Calling upon revenue intelligence agencies to enhance cooperation with their global counterparts to check tax evasion and smuggling, finance minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said free trade should also mean fair trade.
Although the fiscal incentives for financial malpractices have come down over the years, the minister said revenue intelligence officials must increase global cooperation to "check tax evasion and smuggling."
While inaugurating the 2nd Regional Customs Enforcement conference here, the minister stressed that effective steps to curb tax evasion and avoidance are necessary to ensure that "free trade remains fair trade."
Jaitley also called upon revenue intelligence officials to increase the use of technology and develop the ability to read between the lines to check financial malpractices.
The dynamics of revenue intelligence would continue to evolve with changing times, he said, adding "world is obliterating the distinction between tax evasion and tax avoidance."
He said there was a time when the incentive for tax evasion and smuggling was high. However, with the decline in tax rates, tariffs and duties, the "incentive for (financial malpractices) is going down."
India has been vociferously raising the issues concerning tax evasion and avoidance at several international meetings, especially at the G-20 deliberations.