Stressing that his government has “zero tolerance on black money and corruption”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said that the barriers of “excessive banking secrecy” must be addressed and international cooperation is needed for the return of illicit money to the country of origin.
This assumes significance in the wake of the government’s initiatives against black money, since many banks — in Europe and elsewhere have repeatedly cited banking secrecy to prevent sharing of information about their account-holders.
“In India, my government has zero tolerance on corruption and black money. We have enacted a new law to deal with undisclosed assets and income kept abroad. We have also entered into a number of bilateral tax treaties,” he told the G20 leaders on Monday. He also told the G20 leaders that the Indian government will soon have a law on public procurement and that they have also launched an “effective drive against domestic unaccounted money”.
The law on public procurement has been in the works for the last few years now, and the UPA government had released a draft law in 2012. Speaking at the working session on black money, Modi said, “We need greater international cooperation for return of illicit money to the country of origin. We must address the barriers of excessive banking secrecy, and complex legal and regulatory frameworks.” He also welcomed the automatic exchange of information initiative, and said that he looked forward to collective action to implement it.
The PM said that to strengthen international efforts, all countries should implement the common reporting standard based on automatic exchange of tax information. Stressing that G20 must continue to give priority on combating corruption, he said, “I welcome the promotion of transparency and integrity in the private sector.” He also called for deepening of cooperation against “terrorism financing, including through targeted financial sanctions and more effective counter-terrorism financing tools”. “Country specific reports of FATF should be shared and FATF should work out a mechanism to work with deficient countries,” he said. India is keen to cooperate with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), since it wants to corner Pakistan on terror financing.
G20: Need intolerance towards corruption
G20 leaders in their communique said that they are committed to building a global culture of “intolerance towards corruption” through effectively implementing the 2015-2016 G20 Anti-Corruption Action Plan. The statement said, “ … we remain committed to building a global culture of intolerance towards corruption through effectively implementing the 2015-2016 G20 Anti-Corruption Action Plan. We endorse the G20 High-Level Principles on Integrity and Transparency in the Private Sector which will help our companies comply with global standards on ethics and anti-corruption”.