Davos: Amid a raging controversy over black money stashed abroad, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia has said that corruption is not only a social menace, but also affects the growth of the nation.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) here, Ahluwalia said the issue of money laundering or black money is a matter of great concern and governments around the world are very aware of the need to tackle corruption.
"This is just not in India, but around the world. It is an issue which needs to be tackled, because corruption not only reduces the social acceptability of whatever growth we achieve, but actually reduces growth also," he said.
"So we are quite clear that we have to tackle it. You need to design policies in such a way that the scope of corruption is reduced," Ahluwalia said.
His remarks come a day after the Indian government announced a five-pronged strategy that includes the creation of an appropriate legislative framework for repatriating black money stashed abroad.
Asserting that it would not be very easy to bring back billions of dollars of black money stashed abroad, he said, "We should not assume that this is some thing that you write two or three letters and billions of dollars would come in.
"It is a complex issue. It not just an Indian issue, but the world over. It is black money, it is tax evaded money, laundered money, terrorists' money," he said.
Ahluwalia was speaking at the 'India Inclusive' function last evening at the WEF.
Over 2,500 global leaders, including 130 from India, have converged here in the snow-covered Alps to discuss the future of the world economy over the next five days, besides concerns over growth not creating enough jobs, particularly in rich nations.
He said that the countries need to design policies in such a way that the scope of corruption is reduced.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee yesterday said there is no legal framework available right now with the government to
reveal details about black money accounts and treaties were being negotiated with 65 countries for getting information about tax evaders.
Stating that no clear estimates about black money were available, the Indian government has constituted a multi- disciplinary committee to get studies conducted to estimate the quantum of illicit funds parked abroad by unscrupulous citizens.
A BJP Task Force had estimated the amount of black money between USD 500 billion and USD 1,400 billion, but Mukherjee
said this is by no means definitive, as it is based on unverifiable assumptions and approximations.
India has completed negotiations on 10 new tax information exchange agreements with the Bahamas, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Isle of Man, Cayman Islands, Jersey, Monaco, St Kitts and Nevis, Argentina and Marshall Islands out of 22 identified countries and jurisdictions. Furthermore, negotiations are on with 65 other nations.