Saturday, February 28, 2015

Tracking BlacK Money Systematically

            In its first decision after taking charge, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government on announced the formation of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe black money, mostly stashed abroad. The decision was taken in the first meeting of the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Modi. Addressing a media conference after the Cabinet meeting law and telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the SIT will have retired Supreme Court judge MB Shah as its head. 

          The government is working on a plan to provide a one-time opportunity to those who have black money abroad to pay taxes and repatriate their stash even as finance minister Arun Jaitley unveiled a raft of stringent measures in the Budget to crack down on offenders. He is likely to announce this facility when he introduces a comprehensive legislation to curb black money in this session of Parliament. The severity of punishments proposed may prompt those with unaccounted money to come clean. Inadequate disclosure or evasion related to foreign assets will be punishable by jail terms up to 10 years.

          Violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act may result in imprisonment up to five years. In addition to jail time, penalty will be levied at 300% of the tax due for concealing income and assets. Black money in foreign accounts will be non-compoundable and offenders will not be permitted to approach the Settlement Commission.
              "Tracking down and bringing back the wealth which legitimately belongs to the country is our abiding commitment," Jaitley said. His tough talk will give help blunt criticism that the government has been dragging its feet on the issue of black money. A separate bill will be brought to deal with domestic black money, primarily through benami transactions in real estate. It will allow for confiscation of benami property and provide for prosecution, blocking a major avenue for generation of black money. The Finance Bill also includes a proposal to prohibit payment or receipt of cash advances of Rs 20,000 or more for purchase of immovable property.
             Formation of SIT at the very outset and budget proposals for curbing national and international black money is indicating the intentions of the government. Government is committed and adhering to fight blackmoney issue as promised in Loksabha election. This is a good sign for our country. This proved our country is moving in right direction to treat this cancereous diseases as expected.