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How much blackmoney is stashed abroad? Govt has no clear idea

Last updated on: September 30, 2013 16:32 IST

How much blackmoney is stashed abroad? Govt has no clear idea

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The much-touted study to assess the estimate of black money stashed in the country and abroad is yet to be completed despite an assurance given by government in 2011 to finish the task within 18 months.

The study was constituted in March 2011 when the nation was debating on the amount of black money stashed within as well as outside the country with figures being projected by politicians and civil society to lakh of crores.

When approached with an RTI plea in July this year, the application after doing rounds in various departments of the Finance Ministry, was finally answered in the last week of August stating that ‘the studies are yet to be completed by the institutes.’

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Image: A supporter of veteran Indian social activist Anna Hazare wearing a cut-out of India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh smokes during a protest against corruption in New Delhi.
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

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"Further details cannot be made available at this point of time as the information is exempt under sections 8 (1)(c) (breach of privilege of Parliament) and 8 (1)(e) of the Right to Information Act, 2005 since the report is yet to be submitted to the Government or action taken thereof to Parliament," the reply said.

The other section prohibits making public information which is available to a person in his fiduciary relationship, unless the competent authority is satisfied that the larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information.

The study, ordered on March 21, 2011 by Finance Ministry, is being conducted by Delhi-based National Institute of Public Finance and Policy and National Council of Applied Economic Research, and National Institute of Financial Management in Faridabad, Haryana.

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Image: A supporter of veteran Indian social activist Anna Hazare holds India's national flag at the India Gate during a hunger strike by Hazare and his team members in New Delhi.
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

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How much blackmoney is stashed abroad? Govt has no clear idea

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"This study will bring out the nature of activities that encourage money laundering and its ramifications on national security," the Ministry had said.

The issue of black money has attracted a lot of public and media attention in the recent past. "So far there is no reliable estimate of black money generated and held within and outside the country," it had said in a press statement.

The different estimates on quantum of black money range between $500 billion to $1,400 billion.

A study by Global Financial Integrity has estimated the illicit money outflow to be $462 billion.

"These estimates are based on various unverifiable assumptions and approximations. Government has been seized of the matter and has, therefore, commissioned these institutions to get an estimation and sense of the quantum of illicit fund generated and held within and outside the country," the Finance Ministry had said.

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Image: A customer counts currency inside a currency exchange shop in Kolkata.
Photographs: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters

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As per the Terms of Reference of the study, it will assess or survey unaccounted income and wealth and profile the nature of activities engendering money laundering both inside and outside the country.

The study would also identify important sectors of economy in which unaccounted money is generated and examine causes and conditions that result in generation of unaccounted money.

It would examine the methods employed in generation of unaccounted money and conversion of the same into accounted money and suggest ways and means for detection and prevention of unaccounted money and bringing the same into the mainstream of economy.

The study was also mandated to suggest methods to be employed for bringing to tax unaccounted money kept outside India and to estimate the quantum of non-payment of tax due to evasion by registered corporate bodies, the ToR said.

 


Image: People stand in front of the Indian parliament building on the opening day of the winter session in New Delhi in November 2012.
Photographs: B Mathur/Reuters

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