Amid reports of some Indians having unaccounted wealth in tax havens, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday said those who did not take advantage of the compliance window last year to declare illegal assets abroad will find “such adventurism extremely costly”.
The minister said global initiatives to deal with the menace of unaccounted wealth abroad will be in place by 2017, and then it would become extremely difficult for individuals to hide assets.
“I welcome such investigations and expose”, he said.
“With G20 initiatives, FATCA and bilateral transactions in place with effect from 2017, the world is going to be a far more transparent institution and therefore, this kind of an adventurism will prove to be extremely costly for those who have indulged in it,” Jaitley said while addressing the annual session of industry body CII.
His statement comes on a day when a newspaper, based on leaked documents of Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca, reported that over 500 Indians including some well known names figure in the list of persons having association with firms in tax havens.
Jaitley said those who did not take advantage of the black money compliance window last year to declare undisclosed overseas assets will realise their mistake.
“I had come in for adverse comment including some of my friends here when in 2015 Budget we had announced a strong penal law against illegal assets abroad. At that stage I had said that those who committed mistakes in the past are getting last opportunity with a compliance window in place.
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“The compliance window operated (and), many availed but probably some didn’t. Today when I see contrarian reports appearing (in media), which are not only impacting India…which are impacting the rest of the world. I think it is a stern reminder to all of us,” he said.
The Finance Minister also said there are still some sectors which have been adversely impacted by business environment around the world, more particularly in this country.
“The government and industry will have to put their heads together, work in tandem to address each of the sectoral concerns. Obviously, those sectoral concern have fallout on the overall economy,” Jaitley said.
The gross Non Performing Assets (NPAs) of public sector banks (PSBs) increased from 5.43 per cent as on March 2015 to 7.30 per cent as on December 2015. Gross NPAs of PSBs increased from Rs 2,67,065 lakh crore in March to Rs 3,61,731 lakh crore in December.
Talking about the stalled project, he said, the Prime Minister’s Office is directly looking at them.
A large number of them have got started in several sector, he said.