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Issue No.: 574 | April 2015
 

Black Money

Ashok Karnik
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...Bill to check Black Money would be moved shortly...details of the legal provisions are not clear yet...
POINT

The Finance Minister’s pronouncement that a Bill to check Black Money would be moved shortly is heartening. The present system leaves too many loop-holes. Even after foreign bank accounts are detected, the account holder has no fear of going to jail. Generally, he transfers the holdings elsewhere and the account is found empty. He has to explain at the most whether he had paid tax on his earnings. Holding a foreign account is not per se an offence. He has to pay tax and penalty under the IT Act; there is no deterrent punishment as his only loss through his misadventure is the penalty he has to pay. Income Tax cases go through tortuous processes of hearings and appeals for years and the culprit has nothing.
COUNTER POINT

The Government now proposes to impose a jail term of 7 years for holding an undeclared foreign account and jail term up to 10 years for stashing money abroad. It is proposed to have a more stringent law against benami holdings to discourage generation of black money within the country too. The details of the legal provisions are not clear yet and therefore the effectiveness of the new laws would not be clear for some time. The welcome development is that the Government has realized the weakness of the present system and plans to take remedial action. These measures may not eliminate black money but at least those detected will not escape through loop-holes. No law makes people moral but the fear of stringent punishment may keep the wrong-doers at bay. Confiscation of the stashed wealth will be the real deterrent.
Every issue has at least two sides. A wise person examines all sides before coming to a conclusion. This is an attempt to present various sides of an issue so that a considered opinion can be formed.

Readers are invited to email their points of view on serious issues of the day to 
ashokkarnik2001@yahoo.co.in

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