A study to assess the quantum of black money stashed in India and abroad is yet to be completed, even three years after it was commissioned by the previous UPA government.

The previous UPA government had on March 21, 2011 commissioned the study on estimation of unaccounted income or wealth both inside and outside the country. These studies were expected to be completed within 18 months, which expired on September 21, 2012.

The study is being conducted by 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), Faridabad, Haryana.

“The studies are yet to be completed,” the Finance Ministry said in reply to an RTI query filed by PTI.

Further details cannot be made available at this point of time as the information is exempt under Section 8 (1) (c) of the RTI Act, 2005, since the report and action taken thereof is yet to be submitted to Parliament, it said.

The Section bars information “disclosure of which would cause a breach of privilege of Parliament or the State Legislature“.

The issue of black money has been in focus and the governments have been trying to check the menace.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on May 27 ordered constitution of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money. The 11-member SIT, which has Justice M B Shah, former judge of the Supreme Court as chairman and Justice Arijit Pasayat, former judge as vice chairman, has held one sitting.

Addressing the joint sitting of Parliament, President Pranab Mukherjee has recently said that the government is determined to remove corruption and the menace of black money from the country.

“My government is determined to rid the country of the scourge of corruption and the menace of black money. As a first step in this direction, the government has already constituted a SIT to unearth black money stashed abroad.

“This will be followed up vigorously by proactively engaging with foreign governments,” Mr. Mukherjee had said on June 9.

So far, there is no official assessment on quantum of black money stashed in Indian and abroad.

“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,” the Finance Ministry had said while ordering the studies.

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 Ministry had said in a press release issued on May 29, 2011.

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

The study was to identify, among others, important sectors of economy in which unaccounted money is generated and examine causes and conditions that result in generation of unaccounted money.

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