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Black money will be brought back: Manmohan

Cannes: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday said every effort will be made to bring back black money stashed away abroad and expressed satisfaction the G20 leaders endorsed the process involved.

“I am no astrologer. We have to operate in a world where things are not entirely to our own liking. We are dealing with sovereign countries,” the prime minister told a press conference here when asked how long it will take to bring black money back.

The prime minister said these sovereign countries will cooperate only to the extent their laws permit them to do so, which are being addressed through new agreements and pacts on exchange of information. “It is a work in progress. I don’t know what is the magnitude of black money abroad,” he said, soon after conclusion of the G20 Summit in this town in French Riviera.

At the G20 Summit the leaders endorsed in a joint communiqué their commitment to ensuring that the deficiencies in some jurisdictions, often referred to as tax havens, that lead to imprudent tax policy standards, are addressed.

“I am particularly happy to note that the communiqué endorses our call for increased banking transparency and exchange of information to combat tax fraud and evasion and other illicit flows,” the prime minister said. “This was an important part of our agenda.”

The government has been under pressure to act against people who have money stashed away in tax havens across the world. It had set up several bodies, including a directorate under Central Board of Direct Taxes, to unravel these secret bank accounts.

India has made a commitment to G20 that it will remain an active member of the global battle against black money and will soon sign the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters to curb this menace through sharing of information.

The treaty aims at automatic exchange of information among signatory countries so that tax evasion and illicit flows can be detected early. China and Saudi Arabia also said they will join the treaty soon. Ten countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Germany and Russia, signed the pact Thursday, while six others, including Britain and the US, had joined the convention earlier.

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