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No tax amnesty scheme for black money holders
January, 28th 2011

The government said it has no plans to bring out a tax amnesty scheme to lure black money stashed away in foreign accounts. The finance ministry made this submission before Parliament's standing committee on finance.

"Finance ministry officials said there is no such proposal and the minister was misquoted by the media," a member of the committee present in Thursday's meeting said.

The submission comes after finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said on Tuesday the government has constituted an expert group to look into the issue of black money.

When queried on an amnesty scheme at a press conference on black money on Tuesday, he said," you know there is always a double side to these amnesty schemes. Sometimes if somebody is allowed, you will be highly criticised because this will be at the cost of the honest tax payers but sometimes it helps to bring some money." The committee rapped the ministry on continuing with special tax concessions to Mauritius, a country responsible for largest inflow of foreign capital into India more than even US.

Pulling up the government's handling of black money, the committee asked the ministry to give written submissions on the measures that it had taken by February 2.

The panel headed by BJP leader Yashwant Sinha has asked the government to state as to what was the quantum of black money stashed outside India in foreign banks. It also asked the ministry to explain in detail how it had made use of the global fora such as G-20 to contain the menace of black money.

Mukherjee had said earlier that there were no clear estimates about black money and the government has constituted a multi-disciplinary committee to get studies conducted to estimate the quantum of illicit funds generated by Indian citizens.

He had said different estimates like the one by BJP Task Force which put the amount between $ 500 billion and $1400 billion and an international estimate of $ 462 billion are based on unverifiable assumptions and approximations.

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