Two groups looking into blackmoney issue: Pranab

An inter-ministerial group would provide an estimate of black money and suggest ways for curbing its generation.

Last Updated: Jan 28, 2011, 18:38 PM IST

New Delhi: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Friday said that two groups are looking into the different aspects of black money, including an amnesty scheme to unearth unaccounted wealth.

While an expert group would advise Mukherjee on the feasibility of an amnesty scheme to encourage the people to bring back unaccounted money parked in Swiss bank and other tax havens, an inter-ministerial group would provide an
estimate of black money and suggest ways for curbing its generation.

"The expert group (on amnesty scheme) would advise me... it will submit the report as early as possible," Mukherjee told reporters.

He parried a question whether the amnesty scheme could be part of the 2011-12 budget to be presented next month on February 28.

The government in the past had come out with amnesty schemes to encourage people to disclose unaccounted money. Although these schemes have generated tax income for the government, they were criticised for being unfair to honest
taxpayers.

The Minister had earlier this week described the amnesty schemes to convert black money into white as tricky ones like "a double- edged sword".

"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. Sometimes it helps to bring some money," he had said.

The inter-ministerial group, according to the Finance
Minister, would try to give an estimate of blackmoney in the
economy and suggest ways for preventing generation of illicit
funds.

Three important think tanks -- National Institute of
Public Finance Policy, National Institute of Financial
Management and National Council for Applied Economic Research
-- will help the inter-ministerial group in arriving at some
estimates of the black money.

Pointing out that the task will take time, Mukherjee said
"... we will try to have it as expeditiously as possible."

The government has drawn flak over spate of corruption
cases relating to Commonwealth Games, allocation of 2G
spectrum, Adarsh Society scam and inability to bring back
money stashed away in Swiss banks.

The government has also constituted a Group of Minister
(GoM) under Mukherjee to suggest legislative and
administrative measures to deal with corruption.

Some of the measures are likely to be announced by the
government in the budget due next month.

PTI