Government on Friday said it is considering coming out with a ‘White Paper’ on steps taken by it to bring back black money stashed in overseas accounts.
“The proposal is under the consideration of the Government,” Minister of State for Finance S.S. Palanimanickam told the Lok Sabha in a written reply to a question on the proposal to come out with a White Paper on black money issue.
The Government is facing flak from both the Opposition and civil society for not doing enough to bring back ill-gotten money stashed in foreign accounts.
The Centre has adopted a 5-pronged strategy to deal with the problem. These include bringing back black money stashed abroad, joining global crusade, creating appropriate framework and setting up institutions to deal with illicit funds.
Besides, the government has commissioned a study to estimate the quantum of unaccounted income and wealth inside and outside the country and its ramifications on national security. The study is to be submitted by September, 2012.
In another reply, Mr. Palanimanickam said the government is taking comprehensive steps to combat money laundering and terrorist financing in accordance with international standards and best practices.
“These steps include bringing about amendments in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, strengthening the regulatory and law enforcement\intelligence system and improving compliance by the regulatory entities,” he said.
He further said the amendments to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act are proposed to be introduced in the Parliament “shortly”.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, in a written reply, informed the Lower House that many countries and jurisdictions are willing to share banking information in specific cases with India under the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) and Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA).
“However, disclosure of such information is governed by the confidentiality provisions of the DTAA\TIEA under which the information has been received and can be used only for tax purpose,” Mr. Mukherjee said.
India has signed DTAAs with 81 countries of which 75 do not have specific paragraph for exchange of banking information.
“All those 75 DTAAs have been taken up for re-negotiation and so far negotiations have been completed in 22 cases”, Mr. Mukherjee said adding 5 TIEA too have been signed.