A high-level trade panel is of the opinion that if the government will implement its proposal, India could recover $500 billion of black money from abroad.
- The High-Level Advisory Group on Trade (HLAG) suggests that India can recover $500 billion by issuing a long-term government bond – Elephant Bond – to those with undisclosed wealth.
- It suggests that the money that the government receives through this process can be utilised for infrastructure projects.
- The Elephant Bond would enable people to bring back their money into the country without the fear of persecution, the report suggested.
- Subscribers to the bond will invest 40% of their undisclosed wealth in the bonds and will be issued fixed coupon security.
- The HLAG was constituted by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in 2018.
- It is chaired by Surjit S Bhalla.
- As per Mr. Bhalla, if the government could recover even $300 billion through these bonds, the finance problem for infrastructure projects can be solved and the gap between investment and savings can be filled.
- Also, it will reduce the real interest rate and will tend to strengthen the rupee.
- All will work in favour of the Indian economy.
- The panel in its report stated that 45% of the wealth will be credited to the subscriber of elephant bonds and 15% will be collected as tax deducted at source.
- Also, the panel suggested that 75% interest accrued from the bonds be collected as tax.
- The key feature that will possibly attract such people towards the bond is that those disclosing their black money will receive immunity from all laws including under foreign exchange, black money laws and taxation.
World over, there is a crackdown on black money. This is an opportune time for the government to introduce an amnesty scheme such as the one proposed.
Countries such as Indonesia, Pakistan and Argentina have already launched their own amnesty schemes. Indonesia, with its stringent amnesty scheme, was able to collect $1-$2 billion.
Though the proposal by the panel is laudable. The question of ethicality always over the heads of the government leadership. Amnesty schemes demoralize people who earn their living with integrity and hard work.
Already the general public is fuming over many individuals of the country fleeing with their riches earned through illicit means. In such a scenario, is the political leadership of the country ready to implement an amnesty scheme?