Nearly ten months after it was formed to examine ways to check the menace of black money, a committee under the chairmanship of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) chief has submitted its report to the finance ministry. The ministry, however, declined to share its details saying "action
taken" on the basis of the report is to be laid in the Parliament. The government had on May 27, 2011 constituted the committee to examine ways to strengthen laws to curb the generation of black money in the country, its illegal transfer abroad and its recovery.
The committee was mandated to consult all stakeholders and submit its report within a period of six months, that is by November-end. However, its tenure was extended thrice -- in November, January and February, 2012 -- to enable it to complete its work by March.
"The report, submitted by the Committee on March 29, 2012 to the government, is being examined by the government and action taken thereof is to be laid before the Parliament," the finance ministry said in a reply to an RTI query.
It also declined to share the copy of the report as it is "exempted under Section 8(1)(c) and Section 8(1)(e) of the RTI Act, 2005".
The Section 8(1)(c) bars "information, the disclosure of which would cause a breach of privilege of Parliament or the State Legislature".
Whereas, Section 8(1)(e) exempt disclosure of "information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship, unless the competent authority is satisfied that the larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information".
The committee included Member (Legislation and Computerisation), CBDT, Director Enforcement (ED), Director General of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), Director General (Currency), Joint Secretary (Foreign Tax and Tax Research), CBDT and Director of Financial Intelligence Unit-India (FIU-IND) as members.
According to the information given by the ministry, the Committee has conducted seven meetings on June 9, 2011, July 29, 2011, September 23, 2011, December 21, 2011, March 21, 2012, March 26, 2012 and March 28, 2012.
Earlier, replying to another RTI application, the Government has said there was "no authentic figures" about the amount of deposits held by Indian citizens in Swiss banks, which are exclusive of their lawful and legitimate deposit.
The government has also commissioned a study to estimate quantum of black money in the country which is expected to complete its work by September this year.
The study is being done by three institutes -- National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, National Institute of Financial Management, National Council for Applied Economic Research.
The Government has said negotiations of 16 new Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs) to keep a tab on flow of black money have been concluded with Bahamas, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Isle of Man, Cayman Islands, Jersey, Monaco, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Argentina, Costa Rica, Guernsey, Macau, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Congo and Gibraltar.
Besides, India has initiated a process to negotiate with 74 countries to broaden the scope of the Article concerning exchange of information to specifically include banking information and information which has no domestic interest.
Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee is likely to table a 'white paper' in the Parliament on black money during the ongoing Budget Session.