Thursday, June 19, 2014

Study On Black Money

Study on the quantum of Black money yet to be completed-The Hindu-20th June 2014

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.

Indian money in Swiss banks rise to over Rs. 14,000 cr--India TV-20th June 2014

New Delhi:  Indians’ money in Swiss banks has risen to over two billion Swiss francs (nearly Rs 14,000 crore), despite a global clampdown against the famed secrecy wall of Switzerland banking system.

The funds held by Indians with banks in Switzerland rose by over 40 per cent during 2013, from about 1.42 billion Swiss francs at the end of previous year, as per the latest data released on Thursday by the country’s central banking authority Swiss National Bank (SNB).
In contrast, the money held in Swiss banks by their foreign clients from across the world continued to decline and stood at a record low of 1.32 trillion Swiss francs (about $1.56 trillion or over Rs 90 lakh crore) at the end of 2013.
During 2012, the Indians’ money in Swiss banks had fallen by over one-third to a record low level.
The total Indian money held in Swiss banks included 1.95 billion Swiss francs held directly by Indian individuals and entities, and another 77.3 million Swiss francs through ’fiduciaries’ or wealth managers at the end of 2013.
The latest data from Zurich-based SNB comes at a time when Switzerland is facing growing pressure from India and many other countries to share foreign client details, while its own lawmakers are resisting such measures.
India has also constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe cases of alleged black money of Indians, including funds stashed abroad in places like Switzerland.
The funds, described by SNB as ‘liabilities’ of Swiss banks or ‘amounts due to’ their clients, are the official figures disclosed by the Swiss authorities and do not indicate towards the quantum of the much-debated alleged black money held by Indians in the safe havens of Switzerland.
SNB’s official figures also do not include the money that Indians or others might have in Swiss banks in the names of entities from different countries.
The Swiss National Bank said that the focus of banks in the country continues to shift away from foreign clients to domestic business, as reflected in the decline in their overall amounts due to overseas customers.
There are a total of 283 banks in Switzerland, down from nearly 300 at the beginning of 2013. This include two banks (UBS and Credit Suisse) classified as big banks, while there are 93 foreign-controlled banks operating in the country. A total of close to 1.25 lakh staff work at these banks.
According to the SNB data, funds held by the US entities in Swiss banks also rose during 2013 -- from 189 billion Swiss francs to 193 billion Swiss francs—despite a major crackdown by the American authorities against the Swiss banks.
However, a number of countries saw their exposure to Swiss banks decline during the year, resulting in the overall funds held by foreign clients in Switzerland’s banking institutions decline to 1.32 trillion Swiss francs, from 1.39 trillion Swiss francs at the end of 2012.
With regard to the money held by Indians in Swiss banks, it rose during 2013 after a sharp decline in 2012. Prior to that, Indian money in Swiss banks had risen during 2011 also.
The quantum of Indian funds in Swiss banks stood at a record high level of 6.5 billion Swiss francs at the end of 2006, but it declined by more than 4 billion Swiss francs after four straight years of fall till 2010.
For clients across the world, total funds in Swiss banks stood at a record high level of 2.9 trillion Swiss francs at the end of 2005, while the all-time high level in the US currency was recorded in 2007 at $2.4 trillion.
Amid allegations of Indians stashing huge amounts of illicit wealth abroad, including in Swiss banks, the Indian government has been saying that it was making various efforts to bring back the unaccounted money.

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