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Scourge of black money
NDA-government has failed to track and bring back black money stashed away in foreign banks during the past three years
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NDA-government does not appear to be serious in tackling the menace of black money stashed away in foreign bank accounts or within the country except for initiating measures for increasing the penalties for the offenders. The promise of bringing back the black money stashed abroad created hype among the common masses, which in turn voted and brought BJP-led coalition of political parties to power three years back. But this hype is limited to slogan shouting only so far as practical actions for doing so are concerned and it is only now that the BJP leaders have realized how difficult it is to bring back the black money from abroad or the foreign banks. The slew of legislative measures has increased the penalties for the offenders to the extent of 10 years jail besides hefty fine that may include seizure of the property undisclosed in the annual returns filed before the Income Tax Department. This is unlikely to help the government in bringing out the black money concealed by the individuals in their homes and holding the properties through 'benami' transactions. Similarly, the 'benami' transactions and properties are unlikely to be disclosed since no law has been made in the country to check their holding and ownership. In fact, the menace of black money has been associated with the rich which is again a misnomer so far as holding of properties by the private corporate and business houses is concerned. The fact of the matter is that such properties and cash is being held by the people in the name of the companies which may have never transacted any business in the public domain and it becomes extremely difficult to track them unless political patronage is taken away. Same is the problem with the politicians themselves, who are to blame for such a phenomenon because they are holding money not in their names for use in politicking and elections and there is hardly any accountability on such issues. They have to look within and set right the working of their parties for initiating such a process for the rich and black money holders in the country.

The campaign of slogan shouting for bringing back the black money from abroad may please the constituency of the political leaders ruling the roost in the corridors of power at present but it is unlikely to have an impact on the ground. On the other hand, legislative measures and monitoring of black money transactions is aimed at finding a cure for the disease that is existing in the stashing away of black money under different covers. Under the existing circumstances, the system and process are ailing to such an extent that tax evasion becomes an attractive option for all sorts of citizens. The tax structure also adds to the complications already being faced by the people at large. The promise of the NDA government to simplify the tax structure is yet to be fulfilled. Till the time, the risk of tax evasion is low and gains are high, such a process will continue to take a heavy toll on the state exchequer. The existing tax structure may give unlimited powers to the tax officials, instill an element of fear among the people, it is unlikely to solve the problem of black money, which finds its way for circulation in different sectors of the economy of the country. The government and its agencies need to focus on reducing the benefits of tax avoidance for the people and make the structure more friendly and simpler so that compliance becomes voluntary and attractive. Similarly, the government also needs to innovate wiser policies for checking tax avoidance instead of a heavy hand and an element of harassment of the tax payers. This will go a long way in dealing with the menace of black money and bring the money in public domain in the larger interest of the people and the state.

News Updated at : Tuesday, May 16, 2017
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