New Delhi, May 16: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said that the government is making ‘all-out efforts’ to unearth black money stashed away in offshore accounts.
Speaking at the India TV ‘SAMVAAD’ conclave, organized to assess the work of 2-yr-old Narendra Modi government, Jaitley warned that those who have not utilized the ‘compliance window’ to declare their black money will face sleepless nights.
“We framed the anti-black money law and asked people to disclose their black money and pay 60% tax instead of 30% plus penalty. In HSBC accounts details, while the UPA government did nothing, we assessed the accounts and filed criminal prosecution against each person. We also assessed and filed prosecutions against holders of Liechtenstein accounts,” Jaitley said.
“In Panama, there are two kinds of people. Few people have kept money outside the country with RBI consent and few without it. Notices have been sent to all illegal account holders and inquiries are on. This year we detected Rs 71,000 crore domestic tax evasion. In our budget, I had announced that starting June 1 this year, whoever has domestic unassessed income, should pay tax with penalty and declare it. Till date, no government took such steps, you can say all-out efforts are being made to unearth black money,” Jaitley added.
The Finance Minister also challenged the Congress to disclose what steps they had taken to tackle the black money issue.
“I challenge my Congress and UPA friends to tell me what they have done compared to our two- year tenure to bring back black money. We are bringing back money through these steps and those who are not declaring through compliance window, will face the sleepless night. The direction in which we are moving is good for the economy and the country,” he said.
On Agusta Westland issue, he said, “The bribe in the deal is clear cut. This is the first case in the world where the bribe taker is behind the bars , the middle man has been identified but the person who received the bribe is yet to be identified."
Jaitley also said that his government will not compromise with Congress on the issue of corruption in order to get GST Bill passed in the Rajya Sabha where the NDA lacks majority.
“We will combat corruption and we will also get the bills passed in the Parliament in the next session. Except for GST, we have passed all important bills this time in Rajya Sabha despite fact that we don't have majority in the House. We have passed 90 laws in last two years and in the recently concluded session, we passed 24 bills,” he said.
Jaitley said that when the BJP-led NDA came to power two year ago, the ‘main challenge was to restore the credibility of government’.
“I remember, few years ago the renowned magazine 'The Economist' in its cover story had written that the ‘I’ which stands for India in the ‘BRICS” may fall out of the group. These two years were full of challenges. There was a time when the Prime Minister didn't take the decisions. There was policy paralysis. The main challenge before the government was to establish the credibility of government. Modiji’s leadership capabilities, his governance style brought the government back on track in the last two years," Jaitley said.
"The entire world economy is facing a tough time, the global growth forecast is low, demand is very low. And if you look at the economy of a few important countries, on an average, the growth is somewhere in between near minus (-)2 or (+) 2 per cent.
"The monsoon deficit in the last two years was another challenge for us. And third challenge was in Rajya Sabha where we do not have majority. People who used the word ‘policy paralysis’ to describe India, are today saying that India is the brightest spot and it is also the fastest growing economy in the world. And I believe if we follow today’s growth rate for next 10-20 years, we will successfully eradicate poverty, which has been our bane,” he said.
To a question as to when will ‘achche din’ come, Jaitley said, “China maintained 9% growth rate for 30 years but it is still the emerging economy, not a developed economy. In last two years, we have tried to do the same… we have given the economy a correct direction. If compared to the UPA regime, ‘achche din’ has surely arrived. But for my satisfaction, what I can say here is that the direction which we have given will take the country only ahead on the development path.”
On government’s promise to create 100 million new jobs by 2022, the Finance Minister said, “No government can provide jobs to everyone in country with a population of 125 crore. This is not possible. Those who are saying they can give jobs to such a huge number, lack the basic knowledge about economy. Structured industry creates two crore jobs and the unorganized sector creates another 11 crore jobs. Only structured industry can’t be set as the benchmark. I will give you an example - we started MUDRA. If you want to create job, you have to push the unorganized sector. You have to build an economy that creates jobs automatically.”
On RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan's ‘one-eyed king in the land of blind’ remark for India, he said, “I can’t control the phraseology of anyone. IMF is saying India is the fastest growing economy in world, World Bank is saying India is a bright spot. If you analyze this ‘sweet spot’ situation… when the global economy is moving rapidly, it is impossible to achieve 8%, 9% growth but we can attain the 10% growth mark. Please remember, only under these 2 years of the Modi government, India in its history has become the fastest growing economy in the world. This had never happened during UPA regime. When there is economic activity, there will be job creations but in policy paralysis situation, jobs can’t be created.”
When asked about the controversies related to beef and Pakistan, he said, “On many occasions, such statements (beef, Pakistan) are policy diversions and those who deliver such remarks are not serving in the best interest of the party and the government.”