'No official estimation of black money in the country'

'No official estimation of black money in the country'

File Photo for representation

The government on Tuesday said there is no official estimation of black money in the country, however, it has taken several concrete steps to crack down on illicit funds.

"There is no official estimation of black money in the country," Minister of State for Finance Anurag Singh Thakur said in a written reply in Parliament.

In 2014, the BJP-led government came to power with a thumping majority and one of the key polls promised was to bring back black money stashed abroad. Also, one of the key objectives enlisted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8, 2016, high-value note ban or demonetisation was to curb the ill-gotten money.

Thakur was responding to a query on the estimation of total black money in the country and the reasons behind such amount generation.

On asked whether it was a fact that black money was increasing due to lack of alertness by the government, Thakur said "No".

He said the government has taken several concrete steps to crack down on black money, including enactment of the 'Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015', which came into effect from July 2015 to specifically and more effectively deal with the issue of black money stashed away abroad.

Enactment of the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016, was brought to comprehensively amend the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988, so as to enable confiscation of benami property and prosecution of benamidar and the beneficial owner, Thakur said.

Measures taken by the government to deal with black money included restriction on a cash transaction of Rs 2 lakh and more, no deduction under Section 80G of the Income Tax Act allowed if cash donation exceeds Rs 2,000, restriction imposed on donations of Rs 2,000 or more to political parties otherwise than through a bank account or electoral bonds, constitution of the special investigation team on black money.

Also, there are proactive engagement with foreign governments to facilitate and enhance exchange of information on double taxation avoidance agreements/ tax information exchange agreements/ multilateral conventions to curb black money.

Effective enforcement actions and expeditious investigation in relevant cases, extensive use of information technology and data analytics tools for identification of high-risk cases are other key steps that have been taken by the government, he said.

"Mandatory linking of Aadhaar with PAN (Permanent Account Number), which will not only help in de-duplication of PAN but will also prevent potential tax frauds and money-laundering," Thakur said.