In a major development that paves the way for India to get instant access to details on Indians with Swiss accounts, a key parliamentary panel in Switzerland has approved an automatic information exchange pact between the two countries.
The Commission for Economic Affairs and Taxes of the Council of States approved the proposed pact with India as also with 40 other countries, but suggested strengthening the provisions for individual legal claims.
It has asked the Swiss government to submit to Parliament an amendment "to strengthen concrete individual legal protection and to ensure that no exchange of information can take place for individual cases where a violation of essential legal claims is likely", as per the minutes of its last meeting on November 2. The proposal will now be submitted for approval from the upper chamber of Swiss Parliament.
The pact will help provide a continuous access to details about alleged black money hoarders in once-all-secret Swiss banks. The information that could be exchanged under this framework would include account number, name, address, date of birth, tax identification number, interest, dividend, receipts from insurance policies, credit balance in accounts and proceeds from sale of financial assets.
The exchange will work like this - If an Indian has a bank account in Switzerland, the bank concerned will disclose the financial account data to authorities there; the Swiss authority will forward the information to its peer in India who can then examine the person's details.