Pranab hopes it will set a new standard for public access and transparency

Rajaswa Bhawan, the proposed national tax headquarters building for which the foundation stone was laid in 2009 on a 5.65-acre plot at Kasturba Gandhi Marg here, is likely to be ready in the next 24-30 months, Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said on Saturday.

“I hope we will stick to the schedule,” Mr. Mukherjee said in his brief address after presenting awards to architects who participated in the National Architectural Design Competition that was held earlier for the purpose. The first prize of Rs. 10 lakh for the building's design was bagged by Siddharth Shirur of Mumbai-based Vistaar Architects & Planners. The second prize (Rs. 5 lakh) was given to S.R. Sikka of Sikka Associates while the third prize (Rs. 3 lakh) went to Manit Rastogi of Morphogenesis.

Addressing the gathering at a function at North Block where the country's Revenue Department is currently housed, Mr. Mukherjee stressed the need for a people-friendly national tax headquarters while being fully in harmony with the “green” character of Lutyen's Delhi which would set a new standard for public access and transparency.

Revenue Department lauded

The Minister also lauded the Revenue Department for exceeding the revised targets of direct and indirect tax collections set for 2010-11. The budget estimates for total revenue collection during the fiscal year were pegged at Rs.7,45,000 crore which stood revised to Rs.7,80,000 crore while the actual mop-up worked out to Rs.7,92,000 crore.

According to Revenue Secretary Sunil Mitra, the Ministry hopes to obtain the administrative and municipal clearances for the new building within six months and construction would begin at the site by January 1, 2012.