Prime Minister Narendra Modi, prior to becoming PM, vowed to bring back all black money stored away in foreign bank accounts, and further distribute Rs 15 lakh to everyone. Neither black money came nor did the Rs 15 lakh.
Recently, the government has refused to disclose any information on black money cases received, from Switzerland, in response to a Right to Information (RTI) query, citing confidentiality.
RTI sought details
In an RTI application, The Ministry of Finance was asked to share details regarding black money, which was received from Switzerland government, including names of business firms and individuals, with details of action taken against them.
To this RTI query, the ministry said, “The information shared by Switzerland Government on black money cases is governed by confidentiality provisions.” In addition to that, the ministry said that the Government of India and Switzerland share information, as per the cases under investigation, and the process is underway.
India has an agreement with Switzerland
India and Switzerland signed a Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (MAAC) in November 2016. As per the convention, both countries have to share information on financial accounts.
“The necessary legal arrangement has been put in place, and from 2019 onwards, India will receive information of financial accounts held by Indian residents in Switzerland for the calendar year 2018 and subsequent years,” said the ministry
The RTI also asked, the finance ministry to furnish details of black money, received from other countries. The ministry said the assessment proceedings in6 427 actionable HSBC actionable accounts have been completed.
“In these cases, undisclosed income of Rs 8465 crore has been brought to tax,on account of deposits made in the unreported foreign bank accounts. Out of the above mentioned 427 cases in which assessments have been completed, concealment penalty of about ₹1,291 crore has been levied in 162 cases,” the ministry added.
The Finance Ministry has also declined, to reveal three reports on the amount of black money possessed by Indians inside the country and abroad, citing a parliamentary panel is examining the report and divulging details will be a breach of parliamentary privilege.
In 2011, the UPA led government had commissioned the three studies on black money, to National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (Delhi), National Council of Applied Economic Research (Delhi), and National Institute of Financial Management in Faridabad. The Central government received the detailed reports by these institutes between 2013 and 2014.
As per reports, by the Swiss National Bank’s annual, money kept by Indians in Swiss bank accounts increased by 50% to 1.01 billion Swiss francs, i.e. Rs 6,974 crore, in 2017.
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