Centre sounds warning on Black Money issue

RSTV Bureau
New Delhi: Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs and Information & Broadcasting, Arun Jaitley at the CII Annual Session 2016, New Delhi, April 4, 2016. Photo - PTI

New Delhi: Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs and Information & Broadcasting, Arun Jaitley at the CII Annual Session 2016, New Delhi, April 4, 2016.
Photo – PTI

Sounding a firm warning on the black money issue, Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley said those who did not take advantage of the compliance window last year to declare illegal assets abroad will have to bear the brunt. To tackle the menace of unaccounted money stashed abroad, BJP-led Central government had come with compliance window last year giving an opportunity for the purpose of declaration.

The Union Finance minister also stressed that the global initiatives to deal with Black money will be in place by 2017, making it extremely difficult for individuals to hide their assets.

“With G20 initiatives, FATCA and bilateral transactions in place with effect from 2017, the world is going to be a far more transparent institution and therefore, this kind of an adventurism will prove to be extremely costly for those who have indulged in it,” he said while addressing the annual session of industry body CII.

Incidentally, Arun Jaitley’s remarks came amid the reports of some Indians having unaccounted wealth in tax havens.

There are media reports, based on leaked documents of Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca, that over 500 Indians including some well known names figure in the list of persons having association with firms in tax havens.

Addressing the gathering of Industry leaders, Jaitley also said those who did not take advantage of the black money compliance window last year to declare undisclosed overseas assets will realise their mistake.

“The compliance window operated (and), many availed but probably some didn’t. Today when I see contrarian reports appearing (in media), which are not only impacting India… which are impacting the rest of the world. I think it is a stern reminder to all of us,” he said.

Last year, during the 90-day compliance window ended September 30, the government had received disclosures of undeclared overseas wealth totalling Rs 4,147 crore. The Centre, in this year’ Budget, once again came out with a compliance window to encourage domestic black money holders to declare assets in the four-month compliance window. They will have to pay a total of 45 per cent tax and penalty.

Speaking further, Arun Jaitley underlined that the essence of the industry will have to be entrepreneurship and also credibility.

“If India aspires to be the fastest growing global leader, as far as the economy is concerned, we in government have a primary responsibility in terms of policy and guiding public opinion,” he said.

Citing various initiatives taken by the government to boost economic activity, the Union minister added, “corruption level significantly going down if not disappearing, a far more ease of doing business, more and more avenues are being made available to you.”

With regard to mounting NPAs, he said some recent events haven’t added to the industry’s credibility as far as resolution of bad loans are concerned.

(With inputs from the PTI)