He said that the efforts to bring back black money stashed abroad are on the “right track” even as he acknowledged that there was no correct estimate about how much money is kept illegally in foreign countries.
In an address to the nation over radio, he said that bringing back black money from outside the country is an “article of faith” for him and nothing will be lacking in his efforts to do so.
The Prime Minister’s commitment to bring back black money stashed abroad comes against the backdrop of the stand it first took in the Supreme Court last week about the inability to disclose the names of the account holders in foreign banks because of the confidentially clause in treaties with other countries.
The government beat a hasty retreat after the Supreme Court ordered it to disclose the names of account holders in HSBC Geneva which amounted to 627 in number. The government also came under attack from opposition parties that it was going back on its election promise to unearth and bring back black money stashed abroad.
Modi said that there may be differences in approach on getting this money back but he was committed to doing it and the nation should have faith in him.
“As far as black money is concerned. You should have faith on this ‘pradhan sevak’. For me, it is an article of faith. Every penny of the money of poor people in this country, which has gone out, should return. This is my commitment,” Modi said in ‘Mann ki Baat’ programme on All India Radio.
On the actual estimate about amount in illegal bank accounts in foreign countries, the Prime Minister said, “Nobody knows, nor do I know, nor does the government know, nor do you know, how much money is stashed abroad. Even the previous government had no estimate.
“Everybody is making own assessment of figures. I do not want to get involved in those figures. It is my commitment that whatever amount, Rs 2, Rs 5, crore of rupees or whatever, this money belongs to the poor people of this country and should come back”.
In his second radio address, which lasted about 20 minutes, the Prime Minister also talked about his government’s initiatives like those related to the specially-abled children and cleaning the country besides social problems like drug addiction.
Talking about the ‘Swachh Bharat’ drive launched on October 2, he appreciated the personalities from various walks of life as well as common people for participating in the campaign.
Linking the cleanliness drive to healthcare, he said that the poor people are the worst affected by dirt as they fall ill which affects their livelihood.
While talking about the changing mindset of people on the issue, he said that many personalities, including business leaders, sports persons and film actors who meet him now discuss social issues.