Meet the IRS Officer Behind India’s PAN Operations and Instant e-PAN
- Raghav Goyal
- Published on 19 Oct 2022, 1:14 pm IST
- 5 minutes read
- 1995-batch IRS officer Madhukar Bhagat, who started his career with the ‘Best Probationer’ award in his batch, now represents India in an expert panel of OECD called Global Forum for Information Security.
- He has vast experience of 27 years in taxation law, during which he accomplished many milestones, including the national operation of PAN and launching of instant e-PAN.
- He has also authored around 12 books, ranging from topics related to civil services examination to TDS.
- IRS officer Madhukar Bhagat
The officer who led India’s PAN operations and engineered the launch of instant e-Pan is a senior bureaucrat with more than 27 years of experience in taxation laws. Incidentally, he is a qualified engineer, too. He is Mr. Madhukar Bhagat, a 1995-batch Indian Revenue Service officer, who is currently the Additional Director General of Income Tax and is heading the National Academy of Direct Taxes, Regional Campus, Delhi.
He started his career as an Assistant Mechanical Engineer in Indian Railways, but, later, joined Indian Revenue Service, and now after almost three decades, he has been nominated as an expert on ‘Information Security’ from India to an expert panel of OECD called the Global Forum for Information Security. He is also a prolific writer, and has authored around 12 books so far.
Indian Masterminds interacted with him to know about his career and writing journeys, and his many accomplishments in both these fields.
Mr. Madhukar Bhagat started his government service career as an Assistant Mechanical Engineer in the Indian Railways in the early 90s, after being among the 25 successful candidates selected by UPSC from nearly a lakh of aspirants. In the personality test (interview) conducted, he was awarded a superlative 82% marks (246 out of 300), which is counted among the highest.
However, he soon left Railways for the Indian Revenue Service. “Inspiration from family members, the challenge of competing in one of the toughest of competitions, and the desire to be a part of the civil services made me take this leap,” Mr. Bhagat told Indian Masterminds.
Although finance was never his background, he performed exceptionally well in his new career. “The 16 months long training at the National Academy of Direct taxes, Nagpur, took care of the understanding of subjects like accounts, finance, etc. Also, a good grounding in Mathematics as an engineer helped,” he said.
He was awarded the Finance Minister’s Gold Medal for the Best Probationer in IRS-95 batch. And, once on the job, he successfully carried out the most important, and famous, work assigned to him. As Additional Director General (Systems), CBDT, he headed the national operations of PAN and the launching of instant e-PAN.
Looking back to those times, he said, “It required a lot of learning and was quite challenging in terms of the expectations of the tax administration and people’s needs. The entire process involved innovation at every step, but overall, it was greatly satisfying. In two years of time, we were able to launch the free-of-cost instant e-PAN, a big step forward, as earlier, allotment of PAN took nearly a month from the time of the application.”
In 2019, he received the Express Computer Award for excellence in e-governance for the project of allotment of e-PAN.
Mr. Bhagat was nominated as a the country’s expert on ‘Information Security’ by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT). The work entails assessment by a handful of experts from all over the world, of the information security set-up of the taxation regime of more than 100 member countries of Global Forum, AEOI.
Earlier, as Additional Director General in the Competition Commission of India, he conducted the first dawn raid (search and seizure operation) under the Indian Competition Law. Further, he started the use of cyber-forensics and CDRs for investigation of cartels. Investigation work done by him in one of the cartel cases, was much appreciated by Retired Justice G.S. Singhvi (then member of CLAT).
As Director in CBDT, he was entrusted with litigation before courts. He conceptualized the National Judicial Reference System (NJRS), the largest online repository and search engine of judgments and appeals pertaining to direct taxes.
And, as Additional Director of Investigation, he handled the conduct of a number of searches, surveys, cyber forensic investigations, legal interceptions (interceptions of telephones and emails) data-mining, Air Intelligence Unit of Delhi and other sensitive investigations.
Mr. Bhagat is also an author and has written around 12 books on varied topics, including, CUET, taxation, preparation for civil services examination, personality test, aptitude test, Indian culture, and many other subjects. He has also written nearly 30 articles for various leading media organisations and magazines.
Three of his articles pertaining to spread of Covid-19 pandemic in India, its projections and prognosis, were published by the Outlook magazine in April and May 2020 and May 2021. These accurately brought out the extent of the spread of the pandemic in India and suggested the need for a graded action plan.
Talking about his literary journey, Mr. Bhagat said, “Writing has been a passion since school days and I used to write as an editor of the school magazine. And, in the early years of service, I got an opportunity to write on TDS in booklets published by the Income Tax Department. Also, having scored one of the highest marks in the personality test conducted by UPSC, I thought of sharing my knowledge and experience with the CSE aspirants. Hence, I came up with my book on the CS interview, and later, others in the genre of CSE preparation.”
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