Friday, June 3, 2011

Vigorous efforts necessary to unearth black money stashed abroad: Dr. JP

Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan said today that the Government of India should vigorously pursue all avenues to ferret out black money stashed abroad by Indians.

Pledging his support to Baba Ramdev’s demand for recovering the illegal money secreted in foreign accounts, Dr. JP said that the Government of India should not delay the process further, now that it has become a signatory to the UN Convention against corruption.

According to one reliable estimate, Indians have parked about $463 billion, equivalent to about Rs.20 lakh crore, in offshore accounts.

The Government of India could emulate methods adopted by countries like the U. S., which have succeeded in unearthing Americans’ undisclosed offshore bank accounts and made them pay punitive taxes.

Dr. JP said that corruption could be curbed only if laws ensure sure and swift punishment of the guilty with rigorous long-term imprisonment and confiscation of their entire, not merely ill gotten, property.

Pointing out that real estate transactions are one of the primary sources for black money generation, Dr. JP suggested that the Government rationalize stamp duty to dissuade people from under-valuing property to minimize tax incidence. The Government should also utilize the legal provisions under which it can acquire property at the undervalued price.

Institution of a powerful and independent Lok Pal is necessary but not sufficient, said Dr. JP and added that the war against corruption has to be waged on many fronts.

Dr. JP underlined the need for electoral reforms to facilitate the best and the brightest to get elected to office without having to splurge money. Otherwise, politics continues to breed corruption. Decentralization of power and empowerment of people are essential to ensure that people understand the link between taxes and services, and authority and accountability, Dr. JP said.

Dr. JP will be taking part in a program in support of Baba Ramdev’s fast at Gymkhana Grounds in Secunderabad on June 4 at 9-30 a.m. Giving this information, Lok Satta Party State General Secretary Katari Srinivasa Rao appealed to Lok Satta cadre and all people committed to fighting corruption to take part in the program.

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