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India will have to wait for details about Swiss accounts

Source: PTI
April 07, 2011 17:25 IST
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India will have to wait until the end of this year to get information about funds stashed in banks in Switzerland where Parliament will take time to ratify the tax treaty signed between the two in August last year.

India and Switzerland had signed an agreement on August 30, 2010 to amend the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement with a view to facilitating exchange of information between the two countries.

"The status is that that DTAA is in Parliamentarian process in Switzerland. We are running through this process in the next couple of months... we will be ready by Swiss side to conclude the agreement before the end of this year", Johann N Schneider-Ammann, Head of Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Switzerland, told reporters in New Delhi on Thursday.

India has already completed the formalities for implementation of the revised DTAA.

The amended treaty will enable India to get banking information in specific cases, beginning April 1, 2011.

Referring to his meeting with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Schneider-Ammann said: "We had a very good discussion with the Minister about the financial issues in general.
We discussed double taxation agreement."

The new tax agreement, he added, would help in enhancing partnership between the two countries and also resolve the issues concerning blackmoney.

"We do want to solve issues around the black money. I can tell you Switzerland is very much interested...we respect all the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) prime conditions," said the visiting Minister.

The revised DTAA provides for exchange of banking information as well as information without domestic interest.

The pact, however, will not allow "fishing expeditions", a term used for seeking general information without specific details about wrong doers.

The Indian government had already set up a committee of experts to estimate the quantum of black money and suggest administrative and legislative measures to deal with the menace.

The Group of Minister under Mukherjee is also looking into the issues concerning corruption and black money.

The government is under attack from various quarters for its inability to check corruption; more recently, social activist Anna Hazare has started fast unto death to press the government to enact an effective Lok Pal Bill.

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