Finance Ministry says study on black money is still in progress
The topic of black money has been in news for a fairly long time with estimates quantifying it between USD 500 billion to USD 1,400 billion. In March, 2011, the Ministry of Finance had ordered a study on the quantum of black money in India to be conducted by three institutes viz. National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP), National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), and National Institute of Financial Management (NIFM).
The decision regarding the study was prompted by the need to ascertain the quantum of illicit fund generated and held within and outside the country. The study was to find out the nature of activities that aid money laundering and its effects on national security. Apart from this, the mandate of the study included identifying the sectors which encourage unaccounted money and recommending methods to bring under the tax the unaccounted money kept outside India.
As per the directions of the ministry, the study was to be conducted within 18 months i.e. in August 2012. However, replying to an application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the ministry has said that the study is yet to be completed. The ministry refused to provide any further information regarding the study stating that the information was exempted under Section 8(1)(c) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information, the disclosure of which would cause a breach of privilege of Parliament or the State Legislature; and 8(1)(e) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship, unless the competent authority is satisfied that the larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information; of the RTI Act.