India committed to transparency, exchange of information for tax: Pranab Mukherjee

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New Delhi, Feb 12(ANI): Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has said that India is strongly committed to the Steering Group of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes' work and is confident that the needs of the developing countries will be taken into account by the forum.

This was stated by Revenue Secretary Sunil Mitra, who delivered the welcome address and read out Mukherjee's message at the key meeting of the Global Forum hosted by the Finance Ministry in the national capital on Thursday and Friday.

"Tax plays a crucial role in helping developing countries mobilize their domestic resources and enforcing high standards of transparency and exchange of information internationally will be an important part of this strategy," Mukherjee's message said.

"The work of Global Forum is very important for fighting tax evasion and that is why we have worked so hard to ensure that the peer review process can start quickly," it added.

As a demonstration of its commitment to this work, India has agreed that its peer review will be amongst those to commence this year.

The G-20 had asked the Forum to complete their peer review processes and to assess adherence to international standards.

The forum's peer reviews will indicate the extent to which jurisdictions have implemented the international standards on transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes and identify those jurisdictions, which are not making progress.

India, which is both a member of the forum's steering group and a vice-chair of its peer review group, has played an active role in making sure that high standards of transparency and exchange of information are in place throughout the world to prevent tax evasion from depriving governments' resources for development and growth and at the centre of the forum's work to build the peer review process.

This week the group, which guides the work of the forum, considered the core documents required to launch the peer review process.

It also examined the progress of the global forum in moving forward on the mandate given to it by the G-20 in November 2009.

The steering group was chaired by Mike Rawstron of Australian Treasury Department and had participation from OECD, USA, Japan, China, UK, Germany, France, South Africa, Brazil, Switzerland, Singapore, Bermuda and Cayman Islands, besides hosts India.

The full membership of the global forum will meet in Singapore on September 30 and October 1 to finalize the first set of peer review reports. (ANI)

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