Money parked by Indians in Swiss Banks rose 50 per cent in 2017 over the previous year.
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha polls that he would bring all the money hidden in Swiss banks and deposit Rs 15,000 in every bank account of the poor.
After four years, not a single rupee has been deposited. Forget that; the reverse has happened now. More money has now gone from India to Swiss banks.
The latest data from Zurich-based Swiss National Bank (SNB) shows that money parked by Indians in Swiss Banks rose 50 per cent to CHF (Swiss Franc) 1.02 billion (Rs 7,000 crore) in 2017 over the previous year.
This rise comes after there was a decline for three successive years, indicating that Indians who stash money in Swiss banks are getting bolder, thumbing their nose at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his promises.
Mr Modi, it is time to crack down and get this money back to India and also reveal the names of the individuals; at least before the general elections next year. The Prime Minister should fulfil his election promises made in 2014.
Legal deposits need not be chased, but the least that the PM and his Finance Minister can do is to get the black money parked in Swiss banks back to India.
Mr Modi should add one more slogan to his Make In India, Made In India campaign. Why not deposit money in India? Money earned by Indians should be in Indian banks, not Swiss. Despite reports of bank frauds, the fundamentals of banking in India are strong.
The latest data from SNB comes months after a new framework has been put in place for automatic exchange of information between Switzerland and India to help check the black money menace.
The jump in Indian deposits has been attributed to a variety of factors: the 39 per cent increase in foreign remittances (total of Rs 77,939 crore in 2017-18) under the RBI’s Liberalised Remittance Scheme (under which a resident Indian can remit $250,000 per year); increase in reporting after a three-year crackdown on disclosure of black money parked abroad. At Rs 7000 crore, this is a fraction of the Rs 44,500 crore that was parked in Swiss banks by Indians in 2006.
So, what about the rest of the money?
The increase in 2017 comes after money parked by Indians in Swiss banks dropped sharply from CHF 2.03 billion (Rs 14,000 crore) in 2013 to CHF 676 million (Rs 4,660 crore) in 2016.
Indian money in Swiss banks included Rs 3,200 crore in the form of customer deposits, Rs 1,050 crore through other banks and Rs 2,640 crore as other liabilities such as securities at the end of 2017. Another Rs 112 crore was held through fiduciaries or wealth managers.
While assets worth Rs 4,100 crore were declared by over 640 persons under the black money Act, under Income Declaration Scheme (IDS), disclosures worth Rs 67,300 crore were made by over 71,000 persons. Under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) in post-demonetisation phase, disclosures of about Rs 4,900 crore were made by about 21,000 persons.