The Finance Ministry is yet to get any estimate of black money generated and held within and outside the country as the study commissioned by it in 2011 to ascertain the quantum of illegal money is still to be completed.
The Finance Ministry had set a time period of 18 months, which expired last year on August 21, for completion of the study.
An in-depth study was ordered on March 21, 2011 by the Finance Ministry by three top-level national institutions – Delhi-based National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP) and National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), and National Institute of Financial Management (NIFM) in Faridabad, Haryana.
“The studies are yet to be completed by the institutes,” the Finance Ministry said in reply to an RTI query.
It said further information cannot be made available at this point of time as the information is exempt under sections 8 1 (c) and 8 1 (e) of the Right to Information Act, 2005.
The section 8 1 (c) bars disclosure of information which would cause a breach of privilege of Parliament. The Section 8 1 (e) 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.
“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 are no reliable estimates 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.
As per the Terms of Reference (ToR) 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.
Keywords: black money study, Finance Ministry, Terms of Reference, illegal money, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, National Council of Applied Economic Research, National Institute of Financial Management