Amid mounting pressure to unearth black money, the government today announced it has commissioned an in-depth study to quantify unaccounted income and wealth stashed within and outside the country in 16 months.

The study has been undertaken by the country’s three top level institutions, which would also profile the activities used for money-laundering and identify the causes of black money and the sectors in which it is generated.

“So far, there are no reliable estimates of black money generated and held within and outside the country,” the Finance Ministry, which commissioned the study, said.

The study will also suggest ways to detect and prevent unaccounted money, bringing it into the tax net.

Work on the study, which commenced in March, is being undertaken by the National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCEAR), National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP) and National Institute of Financial Management (NIFM).

The first study on unaccounted money was conducted by NIPFP way back in 1985.

The ministry said that the estimates, which are not reliable, vary from USD 462 billion to USD 1.4 trillion.

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