Create environment at home for bringing back black money: PM

Manmohan Singh
New Delhi, Nov 5: As his government faced flak over the black money issue, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today (Nov 5) called for creating an environment where Indian nationals who have stashed illegal money abroad can bring back the funds.

Singh said India is land of opportunities and it was no longer necessary for people with surplus money to seek "greener pastures" abroad.

"We have to create an environment in which our people will themselves have an incentive to bring back this money back home. India is a land of opportunities and it is no longer necessary for people with surplus money to go to greener pastures outside," he said.

Singh said this is the only long term way to discourage flow of money to foreign havens.

He was replying to a question at a news conference on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in this French coastal resort as to how long the government will take to bring back the black money stashed in tax havens.

Prefacing his reply with "I am no astrologer", Singh said India is dealing with sovereign countries and they could only decide to what extent they can cooperate with India.

"We are trying to negotiate agreements on tax information exchange with more and more countries. This is a motion in progress," Singh said.

Singh said he really did not know what is the magnitude of the "so called black money" and whether India had a foolproof mechanism to ensure that we can get back the black money in a short period of time.

Singh said he was particularly happy to note that the G-20 communique endorsed India's call for increasing banking transparency and exchange of information to combat tax fraud and evasion and other illicit flows.

"This was an important part of our agenda," he said.

The Summit in its communique underlined the importance of tax information exchange and encourage work in the Global Forum to define the means to improve it.

"We welcome the commitment by all of us to sign the multilateral convention on mutual administrative assistance in Tax matters," he said.

Indian tax enforcement agencies are probing details of black money stashed abroad by several Indians, including politicians and businessmen, on the basis of information received about secret accounts with a multi-national bank in Geneva.

The probe includes searches on some of the individuals figuring in the secret accounts said to be running into some hundreds and involving money to the tune of around Rs 3,000 crore, according to official sources in Delhi.

They said the accounts were mainly traced to HSBC bank in Geneva but declined to disclose whether information about them was passed on to India by France.


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