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Getting back black money of Indians from overseas: Who is serious ?




The concept of getting back black money deposited by Indian abroad is an old concept. Most research and studies predict that Indians have a large amount of black money abroad, located in different places (although most people talk about Switzerland as the place where there is a lot of Indian black money). Why is this black money important ? Well, almost all of this black money is generated through some form of corruption or through paying lower amounts of tax than required. Is it really important getting back this black money ? Yes, this black money is pretty important. It is parts of this black money that is brought in during election time to outspend other parties and to try and influence voters; it is also this black money that is brought in through various mechanisms such as Participatory Notes in the stock market, or is also the one that is used for buying up large chunks of the property market in India. All these mechanisms actually end up harming the economy rather than causing any benefits. Further, if these amounts were legitimately used in the Indian economy, it would lead to a increase in growth rates and other such benefits.
Are people fighting to get this black money back ? Well, yes. Baba Ramdev has been fighting for some time to get back this black money, but I had serious doubts when I last heard him. He was talking about declaring this overseas black money as a national asset, but I could not figure out what that would do. It is only when the Government puts in serious effort that they will be able to get back this money, and that is one item that has been in serious danger. No Government in India has shown any sincerity in getting back this black money overseas, whether this be Congress Governments, BJP Governments, or other sundry people who have formed Governments in India.
Why is there no effort to get back this black money ? Well, the most common and almost 100% likely concept is that this money essentially belongs to the political class and sections of top businessmen. The money could be coming in from in terms of payments made for contracts, in business deals, and so many other places in the economy where money can be made by those have influence. Now, these politicians are expected to be across the party line, which would explain the above point that no Government has made any serious effort to bring back black money, since exposing one has the danger of exposing all of them. Without the actual effort put in by investigating agencies, there is no way that any court or any special team can actually detect such traces of black money overseas. And it is ridiculous to assume that after so much drama over black money, the money would remain in Switzerland. There are many countries and territories in the world that welcome money with no questions asked, and it would be easy to move money away from Switzerland.
If the Government was serious, there are a number of possible actions that could be taken. There are many examples of what countries have done, with the United States serving as a good example. The US has actually pressurized banks (even those based in Switzerland) for ensuring that illegally stashed money is exposed, and banks helping in doing that were also fined. The constant pressure, with threats of further action (including the actual arrest warrant for one senior bank executive) ensured that the banks finally capitulated, and provided the information that the United States asked for. There was another golden opportunity where one bank employee had taken lists of people with large accounts, and many governments, ignoring the fact that the list was technically stolen, jumped to the chance to get to know names and then take action against them. However, the Indian Government is very reluctant on this, and it is almost equivalent to wishing that this list was never available, and is almost speaking in terms of those who have money rather than trying to get back the money that is parked overseas.
The Supreme Court has given a judgment in 2011 about setting up a SIT to investigate this overseas black money, which the Government objected to. However, it is a note of how serious everybody is treating this important matter that the next hearing for this SIT on black money is happening 3 years later, so even when this SIT is in place, one does not know how long it would actually take place.




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