A memoire is a reflection on past events etched in memory. In Virtus in Arduis, Parthasarathi Shome—popularly regarded as ‘India’s Taxman’ and internationally known as a ‘Taxation Rock Star’—looks back on the course of his professional growth to bring to the interested reader an account of exceptional brilliance, integrity and perseverance, combined with a thirst for challenge, and, in simple words, to recount how ‘Partho Shome came from there to here’.
As one who has travelled to some forty countries as fiscal adviser to governments and academic research, and to as many more out of plain curiosity, Shome’s is a life driven by constant change and variety, and one rich in experience, personal and professional. Fluent in Spanish, he has been part of global policymaking at the International Monetary Fund as Chief of Tax Policy, been Adviser (Minister of State level) to former finance minister P. Chidambaram, and Chief Economist for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, UK Government.
As an economist who has published in topnotch international journals and authored several books, taught and researched extensively in India and abroad, a practitioner who has investigated many a tax law and its subordinate legislation, and a tax administrator who has implemented tax law in the field, Shome’s insights, interspersed with glimpses of the manifold challenges he faced and some lighter moments of that experience, are extraordinary.
While he focuses primarily on his career graph and academic life, allusions to the personal side—delightful, wry, poignant: remembering vital lessons learnt in childhood, his love for Latin America, his trip to Okavango River Delta, visiting his ancestral home in Bangladesh, and many more—make this memoire a fascinating and engaging read.
List of Plates
List of Abbreviations
1. Journey to the United States and into Academia
2. International Monetary Fund: The Initial Years
3. International Monetary Fund: Latin America in the 1990s
4. International Monetary Fund: Africa, Europe and Asia in the 1980s and 1990s
5. Policy Work at the IMF: Early Years
6. Early Involvement with India: Back and Forth with the IMF
7. Government of India: North Block
8. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs
9. India Again: Research, Government and Committees
10. Moving Forward
Parthasarathi Shome is Chairman, International Tax Research and Analysis Foundation (ITRAF), Bangalore, Visiting Fellow, London School of Economics, and the author of several books, including Development and Taxation: 60 Critical Commentaries; Taxation Policy and Application: A Compendium; and Tax Shastra: Administrative Reforms in India, United Kingdom and Brazil.