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India's 'black money': 'Hoodwinking' the people?

Soutik Biswas | 03:19 UK time, Friday, 28 January 2011

Indian currency

One analyst calls "black money" or illicit money India's curse. He's not off the mark - I have been hearing of and reading about this scourge ever since I was in junior school. Several decades later, the problem has only worsened. The government reckons there are no reliable estimates of "black money" inside and outside the country - a "study" by the main opposition BJP in 2009 put it at anything between $500bn to $1.4 trillion. A recent conservative estimate by the US-based group Global Financial Integrity Index pegs illicit capital flows between 1948, a year after Independence, and 2008, at $462bn - an amount that is twice India's external debt. India's underground economy today is estimated to account for half of the country's GDP.


Thanks to opposition and public ire over a series of corruption scandals, "black money" is back in the spotlight. The Supreme Court has been chiding the beleaguered government for not doing enough to unearth illicit money. "Is there no basis to figure out black money?" the court wondered on Thursday. "What is the source of black money, which has been stashed away in foreign banks? Is it from arms dealing, drug peddling or smuggling?"

Strong words indeed. But they may not be enough to uncover India's biggest and longest-running scandal. This week, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee unveiled what critics said was a laundry list of tedious platitudes and obscure, non time-bound plans to check the "menace of black money". This includes joining a "global crusade" against it, creating appropriate legislation and institutions to deal with such funds and imparting skills to officers tasked with detecting such funds. In effect, what the government is saying is that after 63 years of independence, India has no institutions or trained people available to curb a brazen and thriving underground economy which rewards tax evaders, humiliates tax payers and widens inequity.

There is enough evidence to show that there is little political or administrative will to curb "black money". India has double taxation treaties with 79 countries. But 74 of these treaties need to be tweaked significantly to include exchange of banking information between the countries. (Letters have been issued to 65 of these countries to initiate negotiation, says the minister.) India has apparently chosen 22 countries and tax havens for negotiating and signing exchanging tax information. Last year, a law to prevent money laundering was given more teeth - but laws are often flouted with impunity in the world's largest democracy. The government says it plans to hone direct tax laws further to begin taxing deposits in foreign banks and interests in foreign trusts.

It also talks about a new amnesty scheme for "black money", which is really a slap in the face of the honest tax payer. Since Independence, the government has offered the "voluntary disclosure scheme" six times, most recently in 1997. Less than $1bn was declared, which most experts believe was a fraction of the black money in the market at that time. India's autonomous federal auditors once remarked that the disclosure schemes encourage people to become "habitual tax offenders", knowing full well that they can hoard money without paying income taxes.

Independent economists believe that despite the government's recent noises, "black money" will continue to blight India and its economy. For one, it is a systemic problem. Those who don't pay taxes or stash away illicit money overseas comprise the political and professional creme de la creme - politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen, doctors, lawyers, chartered accountants, judges. That the government is not keen upon cracking down on illicit capital flows was evident, analysts say, when, in 2008, it refused to accept a compact disc from Germany containing names of account holders in a Liechtenstein bank. Last year, under opposition pressure, the government accepted the CD, but refused to disclose the 26 names of Indian account holders in it. Many believe that a year is enough for the account holders to move their money out of the bank. "Unless there is political will to dig out black money, nothing will happen," says Arun Kumar of Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University, who has investigated India's underground economy in detail. And the humiliation of the honest citizen will continue.

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  • 1. At 02:40am on 28 Jan 2011, Jay wrote:

    Sometime ago I recieved an email about it. it says:

    This is so shocking.... ...wish black money deposits was an Olympics event.... India would have won a gold medal hands down.. The second best Russia has 4 times lesser deposit. US is not even there in the counting in top five !! India has more money in Swiss banks than all the other countries combined .

    Is India poor, who says? Ask Swiss banks With personal account deposit of $1500 billion in foreign reserve which have been misappropriated, an amount 13 times larger than the country's foreign debt, one needs to rethink if India is a poor country? Dishonest industrialists, scandalous politicians & corrupt IAS, IRS, IPS officers have deposited in foreign banks in their illegal personal accounts a sum of about $ 1500 billion.This amount is about 13 times larger than the country's foreign debt. With this amount, 45 crore poor people can get Rs 1,00,000 each. This huge amount has been appropriated from the people of India by exploiting & betraying them. This black money can repay the entire foreign debt of our country. Even after paying the entire foreign debt we will have huge surplus.

    That email claimed, "Top five: India---- $1,456 billion, Russia ---$ 470 billion, UK -------$390 billion, Ukraine - $100 billion, China -----$ 96 billion. (the source, Swiss Banking Association report, 2006, mentioend there is not so authentic though, as my initial Google search indicates).

    In March 2005, the Tax Justice Network (TJN) (http://www.taxjustice.net/cms/front_content.php?idcat=2) published a research finding demonstrating that $11.5 trillion of personal wealth was held offshore by rich individuals across the globe.The findings estimated that a large proportion of this wealth was managed from some 70 tax havens.Further, augmenting these studies of TJN, Raymond Baker -- in his widely celebrated book titled 'Capitalism' s Achilles Heel: Dirty Money and How to Renew the Free Market System' -- > estimates that at least $5 trillion have been shifted out of poorer countries to the West since the mid-1970. It is further estimated by experts that 1% of the world's population holds more than 57% of total global wealth.


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  • 2. At 02:53am on 28 Jan 2011, Jay wrote:

    One can easily understand the level of corruption in India from the number of Indian people, even government officials, travelling abroad so frequently (even for leisure and shopping); so many mediocre and below mediocre children of such corrupt people are flocking to universities in US, UK, Australia and some other developed countries where higher education is beyond the reach of many local middle class people.
    Here, we need to keep in mind that tuition fee in such foreign students are about 3 to 5 times higher than local students. Sometimes the difference goes as high as 11 times or even more! Here is a comparative list of fees charged by different universities in UK, in different courses for local and foreign students (http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/oct/12/tuition-fees-universities#data).
    Accommodating few more students does not require much extra effort or infrastructure but can generate huge income for the university. Universities care less if that extra fee comes from a rich parent or some corrupt selection process by some trust or organization, headed by local people from countries like India. There is a marked difference in quality (and later performance) of British students vs such foreign students (e.g. from India) attending universities like Oxford or Cambridge. As one British professor once told me that, “such high profile universities do not need any recognition from such foreign students but we get huge income from them”.
    It does havoc not only to the host country in the long run, but also do almost irreparable damage of those foreign countries by depriving genuine talented students, both from the host country and India, besides promoting corruption.
    I have seen a school teacher is too busy in private tuition than taking class in his school, only to send his son to do PhD in US! Such incidences are not so uncommon these days.
    Many of those mediocre students come back, now armed with heavy weight degrees from such a high profile universities in UK or US and occupy higher positions and get promoted fast (in connection with their pre-existing parental power and money- that enabled them to go abroad in the first place), only to produce and promote mediocrity. The cycle goes on, even after 63 years of independence (for India).

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  • 3. At 03:37am on 28 Jan 2011, Shilpy wrote:

    corruption started since aug 15, 1047 when nehrus' communism-socialism usurped indian's freedom. if you don't believe me, and i can't imagine why you wouldn't, read dr. subramanian swamy, the best mind on the subject.

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  • 4. At 05:00am on 28 Jan 2011, Raghunath wrote:

    This is a national shame. All those politicians and bureaucrats who talk about tall moral values seem very silent on this issue. why would they speak now. They are the people who really hold those accounts. Why would they want to commit suicide. I dont think that money is ever going to come back in our life times. With ever rising corruption its only going to increase.
    Politics is the best business in India. Once you get in, you are immune to all taxes, all laws and you can earn money by doing nothing useful. You can get away with anything and everything.

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  • 5. At 07:58am on 28 Jan 2011, Freespirit wrote:

    Ah! the same old ritual. It smacks of 'self-flogging' with butter and honey. Soon this "self-flogging" ritual will be documented as an Indian tradition with potential for "tourism" (invest in India and immediately siphon out money to these havens). As Arun Kumar (JNU) says, without political will, the ritual will go on. When the PM and the finance ministry wrap themselves up inside a cocoon of miserable excuses such as "legal obligations to foreign governments, where is the chance to stop this shameful practice? Look, Income Tax Department in India is by no means perfect but largely respectable with many officers being honest having a desire to bring justice and book the offenders. But political interventions and legal morass means none of the offenders ever get punished. Forget foreign flight of money, just see the tax collection in India - poorly paid school teachers and government officers are automatically taxed even in today's highly inflationary economy. On the other hand businessmen, politicians, Bollywood stars easily escape the noose because of their "connections". When the government wants to show that they're doing something, whom do they go after? Of course, the poorly paid teachers and the smaller fish who are automatically linked to the IT department's collection system. All this talk of PAN, TIN and so on will have no use unless the big fishes are ousted first and made an example. We Indians (despite the illiteracy) know who the big fishes are: they are often seen in bed with the very same politicians who talk the big talk. The only road one can see in India points downhill. For India to go anywhere they need someone like Singapore's Mr. Lee - use the whip correctly starting from the top and get rid of the evil.

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  • 6. At 08:49am on 28 Jan 2011, onebadmouse wrote:

    Don't beat yourself up.
    There is a great deal of corruption all over the world.

    Who had the power to supress the recent revelation of the owners of Swiss bank accounts? Not an Indian official, but a politician whose "whiter than white" reputation was at stake.

    In the UK, when a major corporation is being investigated for tax irregularities, it is common practice to offer the investigation team a consultancy position - for life. - problem solved!

    A curious feature of this economy is that these corrupt officials seldom renege on their arrangements. They actually work very hard to achieve what they agreed.

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  • 7. At 10:53am on 28 Jan 2011, sumit wrote:

    Swiss magazine Schweizer Illustrierte in 11 November 1991 revealed that Rahul Gandhi {Congress party's future candidate for Prime minister of India} was the beneficiary of accounts worth $2.2 billion dollars controlled by his mother Sonia Gandhi.Recent reports have calculated his and his immediate family's financial net worth to be anywhere between $9.41 billion (Rs 42,345 crore) to $18.66 billion (Rs 83,900 crore).

    Refer to this link:-
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rahul_Gandhi#Swiss_bank_account

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  • 8. At 11:53am on 28 Jan 2011, Neelambar Hatti wrote:

    Black money and corruption seem to be the twin pillars of the modern Indian edifice characterised by bribes, nepotism, shady alliances between politicians, business and the media. Particularly 2010 was a real annus horribilis for those citizens who had hoped that India would finally introduce effetive measures to control the widespread corruption.

    We cannot speak of black money without taking up the issue of exponential growth of corruption in India. Huge scams such as the Commonwealth Games or the 2G spectrum allocation, have raised the issue of corruption to a pitch that has never happened before. India is transiting from licence raj to crony capitalism and the ordinary citizen is being short-changed in the process. Corruption has become all-pervasive. Does this imply that Indians are more corrupt than those in other countries? While a majority of India accept corruption as fact of daily life, we have to bear in mind that Indians have inherited a system, post independence, which breeds corruption. It is a systemic problem. And how can this systemic problem be rectified?
    One needs a government which is bold enough and has the courage to change the prevailing political system. Our elections have turned into a circularity of manipulations, where public entertainment is assured through cacophonous blarings and dirt raised from dry grounds. This type of public entertainment requires an aspirant politician needs huge sums to fight the election and he has to resort to the use of black money thus opening the door to more corruption. After all, politics of today is all about territories and power-games. The government, lacking boldness and courage required to change the system anoounces setting up a new committee to inquire into the latest scam and the outcome is usually already known.
    India does have a plethora of anti-corruption agencies, some of which are corrupt in themselves. In each of these agencies, the government has deliberately left some critical loophole so as to make it ineffective. Needless to say,the existing anti-corruption laws and systems are heavily compromised and beholden to the political masters who put them in
    in place to their own benefit.
    Since the powers to be seem most willing to show the courage to implement effective reforms to root out corruption and black money, perhaps it is time that the media and the public focussed on critical issues afflicting the Indian anti-corruption systems. Let us hope that 2011 will not be yet another annus horribilis for India.

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  • 9. At 12:42pm on 28 Jan 2011, Desiderius Erasmus wrote:

    There is 'black money' everywhere ... I suggest that if 'secret' bank accounts were made illegal worldwide, we would all be shocked at the sheer scale of theft from the public purse.

    One only has to look at the wealth of Asian, Arab or African politicians who are deposed (Chateaus' in France, private schools and jets etc), all from people who have never worked in their lives, to realise what we are talking about.

    There are billions upon billions of US Dollars in stolen money locked away in third world politicians, and first world tax dodgers bank accounts .... enough to clear most third world debt crises and maybe even kick start development.

    It would only take the Japanese, EU and US to ban all banks that hold such accounts from dealing in their financial systems to cause them to collapse, Switzerland and the Caymans etc can't operate without bank services from these three fincancial blocks.

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  • 10. At 1:54pm on 28 Jan 2011, darkhorse wrote:

    It is shocking. What is the way forward?

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  • 11. At 2:24pm on 28 Jan 2011, Jay wrote:

    The most shocking part is, general Indians have accepted corruption and related black money as part of its lives. That acceptance is growing fast, spreading even in rural areas faster. The main deterrence against any social crime is social shame, in any society. In India it has almost evaporated in last 40 years. No one really cares or ashamed to flaunt their ill gotten money. Nowadays CBI raid gives more social prestige among neighbors than sense of shame.
    Previously some professions were held in very high esteem in public eyes, e.g doctors, teachers etc. It's all but gone. Now Indian doctors are one of the most corrupt lot, hardly have any sense of service (to humanity) left and routinely bribed by almost anyone, mostly by pharmaceutical and equipment manufacturing industry even by giving raw cash to sponsor their foreign tours (directly or in the name of "attending conference"). So called "scientists" are no less corrupt. When then get a chance they can sell practically anything that is left after selling their ethics.
    In short, India is becoming more and more like a Banana Republic. Huge inflow of money in business and industry is making it worse.

    It was bound to happen when we never had any decent corporate governance. Many of the dirty business (be it clinical trials or manufacturing of drugs or other chemicals) from abroad shifted to India. We and our politicians are proud to show it off as "prosperity". This worsened after liberalization of our economy after 1991. We got the taste of blood but without having a meaningful corporate governance, effective and accessible judiciary and law enforcement agencies (police and CBI type agencies) to discipline our new found competition (greed?) to amass wealth.
    Now we have started facing the consequences. This new found "prosperity" has created more drag force for the country. The level of poverty is not much different now (about 40% in GDP term and about 60% in MPI term) as compared to 1980s. People now know that that our social and political elites are no more honest or intelligent but they enjoy a far better life than many others. They also want the same. Some are quick to understand the way (and join the corrupt group). Many others take up laws and guns in their own hands and we call them extremists or naxals or so. Few remaining honest Indians do not know how to approach the problem, what is the PRACTICAL solution. They feel frustrated and confused; gradually keep themselves aloof.
    Very few, like Dr Binayak Sen who try to do some social awakening and work for the people are quickly identified by our political and business masters and immediately brand him as "terrorist" and put behind bars. Probably civil war is the inevitable fate for this unfortunate country. Many believe that it (low intensity) already started. Many more believe - more to come (after this brief show of prosperity or advertisement).
    Yet we (including those who believe in extremist/violent ways to solve the problem) are still not interested or not capable to think how to replace this rotten system, even if we pass the civil war stage!
    Our system (political, social and judicial) is not capable to give any hope to our citizens. Our future citizens will have worse condition to encounter.

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  • 12. At 2:33pm on 28 Jan 2011, Jay wrote:

    The least we can do is to refuse to get married or enter into negotiation with the sons and daughters of such corrupt people. We can always avoid any relationship with CORRUPT teachers, scientists, businessmen, lawyers, police officers, bureaucrats and, above all, politicians.
    How many of us have the guts to follow this simple norm, not to encourage such people and not to establish any social or matrimonial relationship with such people? Not many, I suppose.
    There are so many things we, as an individual, can do; BUT very few actually do it (for obvious reasons of course).

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  • 13. At 3:58pm on 28 Jan 2011, tridiv wrote:

    When i hear Pranab Mukherji, the failed, old and outdated politician, managing India's finances, i need no explanation on corruption, trading favors and other ills in India. The feudal Congress party headed by the Nehru clan and assisted by the disposables like Mukherji, is the biggest source of institutional corruption (followed by other political parties, obviously). Can not wait for the 'clan-worshiping' generation to end. India needs an electorate with minimum self-respect.

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  • 14. At 4:34pm on 28 Jan 2011, NRI wrote:

    I wish there was some mechanism or something that when tax is not paid or money is obtained illegaly by corrupt ways, it really turns in to BLACK colour for evryone to see. Even then I suppose people in India would say - Money is Money what difference it makes whether colured white or black. As long a it serves its purpose who cares. And we will accept even that also as we Indians have accepted and are living with current state of Black Money and Corruption.

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  • 15. At 6:42pm on 28 Jan 2011, Rahul Patil wrote:

    I am an Indian but study in ukraine..I have seen corruption,lot of it here..Nothing can be done here without bribing..Sometimes people purposefully delay your workso tht you bribe them..I have spent 5 years here and I seriously feel its not different from India,only different is bribing a traffic police,municipality person is much cheaper than bribing here..
    Its a shame India has gone through a very worse year 2010,all the scams,unrest in kashmir but iam hopeful for this year..The best thing we as individuals can do is not take part in corruption and stand your ground in tough situations..i do it here,and will do it India as well

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  • 16. At 7:16pm on 28 Jan 2011, tsingh wrote:

    In India public opinion have hardly any value. I don't think people of India are united to take any action for these kind of big issues that is why these issues are hanging over since independence. The county is divided based on religion,caste,sex,language,financial status etc. etc.. Any ruling govt. know public are large is fool and it is easy to get away, They are all same or descended from same family of goons who rules the country. If men and women of India have any guts the only available solution is revolt like in Tunisia and most recent example Egypt.

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  • 17. At 10:29pm on 28 Jan 2011, Jay wrote:

    16. At 7:16pm on 28 Jan 2011, tsingh wrote:
    If men and women of India have any guts the only available solution is revolt like in Tunisia and most recent example Egypt.

    We had and will continue to have our share of "revolution". Almost all such violent revolutions end up giving more anarchy and corruption. It was the case for naxal movement in Bengal in 70s, Khalistan movement in 80s and so on.
    Punjab used to be the example for patriotism and honesty before Khalistan movement. Now Punjab is one of the MOST CORRUPT states in India. West Bengal's dominance in almost any field (including culture, education, industry etc) was ruined after the Naxal movement. The problem is almost all such movements are hijacked by opportunists who see/saw such movements as great opportunity to change boats. Those previous naxals did extremely well who changed in proper time and became CPM/CPI and now rule bengal for the last 30 odd years and many became filthy rich, with corrupt money. All those ideologically head strong are rotting in jails, even during the so-called communist rule in Bengal.
    It is easy to call for a revolution but much harder to suggest a function alternative, to prevent dictatorship (as many leftist movements end up with) and more oppressive dynasties (as in North Korea, Cuba and many other former east European communist countries).
    Even if there is a mass revolution, massive public unrest (to dislodge the present government), what they want to replace the current system with? Have we prepared ourselves for that future? The short answer is- NO.
    First we need to try to prepare ourselves to talk straight, to oppose corruption - OPENLY and prepare our own kids to do that. Not very easy thing to do in a country like India but a MUST, to become a civilized country in next 100 years (if we are fortunate and if the plan works as scheduled). But that is the first step for a better future. Once we have a aware and civilized electorate, most of the problems will be solved.
    Currently, all the talk for a "resurgent" and "developed" India (in next few years are just nonsense. Only idiots, naive and/or opportunists (who are benefited from the current system) talk that way.

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  • 18. At 11:35pm on 28 Jan 2011, Jay wrote:

    I said in my previous post, "Have we prepared ourselves for that future? The short answer is- NO".

    That's the biggest mistake our founding fathers of independent India made. They did NOT prepare Indian people to enjoy a meaningful democracy and freedom (as suggested by some leaders like Subhas Bose or BR Ambedkar but disliked by the then Congress leadership).
    All the whims and demands of almost everyone was granted- be it a religious whim of a Muslim to offer namaz on public road or the rituals of the Hindus to block public road to celebrate Diwali at the late of the night, disturbing many others. Almost all religious groups were granted special civil laws (Hindu code, Muslim law etc). Our so-called leaders did not have the guts or probably the wisdom to understand what damage they are doing by granting the special status of few people in the name of caste based reservation. There are numerous examples of it. Corruption and bribe is one of such issues. It just grew bigger and bigger, as did all such special privileges. Now we do not have enough space to accommodate them all and find it a major issue for internal conflicts.
    Meaning of "democracy" is NOT that everyone are free to do whatever they like, but everyone need to follow a common law.
    Even now, we are far, far away from even understanding, leave alone implementing, it.

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  • 19. At 03:37am on 29 Jan 2011, RaviStLouis wrote:

    India is a large democracy and it is fighting corruption since its first five year plan. Corruption covers up all the tracks of untaxed money. Why don't they follow the U.S. example;make coruption legal and call it lobbying.

    Education is the key to stop corruption and create better citizens who are earnest about paying taxes. However, I am living state side and if I had way of not paying taxes I would do it. Most fortune 500 companies I work do the same. So why should I pay taxes since I get nothing back from the state or federal government. At least when I was living in New Zealand I received free health care and my children even got free dental!

    If you want me to pay taxes in any country then I have a right to ask where is the accountability for the money which is collected!

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  • 20. At 09:23am on 29 Jan 2011, Qazi Irfan Mustafa wrote:

    Dear Mr. Biswas
    I have been a regular reader of you columns and find them very interesting. Often, as a writer one has to stop the pen at a stage where it might get into drawing conclusions for others even though some readers might feel there was more to write. That is a part of unbiased and honest reporting. However, in this post, I sincerely feel other side of the coin deserves some attention. Some estimates tell us that only 3% of the people who should actually paying the income tax, are the "tax payers." Which does not even tell us that those three percent honestly pay all the tax that they should be paying. While some of them avail a number of tax exemptions and benefit like investment and insurance, etc., many of them declare only a part of their income like salaries and do not declare other income like rent from their properties, etc. One does not really need to be a financial analyst to imagine the amount of money that is supposed to be "black" in this country. This thought will dwarf all these estimates of BJP and other bodies.
    Now the question is why is this money black and not the policies of the government? For instance when an entrepreneur invests his life, along with money that might be borrowed from banks at high interest and his precious time, how much of support and safeguard does he get from the government. Most of the entrepreneurs fail at least in their first venture. The moment somebody starts making some money he has to start paying tax at the rate of roughly 33%. What will he pay the money for? Does the government make his family feel safe and save them from being robbed and harmed? Does government give him hospitals where he will feel comfortable to take his family for treatment? Does the government give him a school that is good enough for his children to study? Does the government do anything to ensure that the property stays within the reach of common people so that he could afford a house? Does the government do anything to make sure the price of onions does not shoot to a level that one kilogram actually costs twice as much as average per capital income of a working person? The question is why does he pay tax and not save money for a day when a kilogram of onion will cost 500 Rupees.
    It is very easy to make hue and cry about corruption and black money. It is particularly easier if you can put the blame on others to save yourself. You cannot be judgmental but the reader must be. They must ask themselves what do they expect a hardworking young man with couple of young children to do when he cannot afford to buy even an egg for them if he has to depend on his salary alone. By the way 85% of the women do not even afford sanitary napkins in India. What do you expect such father to do? I would call him an honest man if he thinks about his family first and find ways to make more money in his job. I have made a comment that can be very controversial (only if I were a politician) but the fact is when you cannot do something for your children, you basically can do nothing for anybody.
    We need to look at what is being done with the money that government robs from us on one end starting from highly disproportionate income tax to the other end of highly disproportionate excise duty? I know they do almost nothing for me, but do they do anything for the poor and needy? I would be happy paying the tax if they did, but that is also not the case. Why should I feel comfortable paying tax when every couple of days a farmer somewhere in some corner of the country has to commit suicide as he cannot make ends meet. I am very sure the rate would be much higher, but they cannot even afford the poison. It has come to a stage where a father killed his three daughters because he could not look after them. I am in no way justifying his act but just trying to ask readers to imagine his desperation. Probably he was sure that they would end up in a state which would be much worse than death.
    Coming to the bottom line once again. I believe government needs to look into the spending first. There is no reason to spend hundreds of billions on submarines and warplanes of fourth generation but every reason to spend on internal security and welfare. There is no reason to keep a million strong military in Kashmir and a matching number in northeast when a fraction of that amount would be sufficient to win the hearts. I do not see a reason why people have to be convinced that the neighbors are vultures and could attack next morning when one of the neighbors is too busy with his own problems and the other with his prosperity. I am not suggesting that their intentions are any better but just suggesting that there are more effective and efficient was to resolve issues. Even Malaysia had very similar issues with its neighbors as India has with her, but they did not make that an excuse to starve their citizens. Pakistan has always welcomed any idea of arbitration in border disputes with India and they would even welcome to take it to the International tribunal of justice they way Malaysia and Singapore did. What I am saying is that a poor farmer in Andhra Pradesh does not need to commit suicide because just because those politicians in Delhi want to feel proud of their policy of not letting a third party help with resolving issues with Pakistan and China.
    I think India needs to learn a lesson from the events that have unfolded in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen before it is too late. It is for the leaders to act in the right direction.
    I do not see a reason why anybody should save billions in foreign banks for his children's future if their future is secure in their own country. Otherwise, I do not see a reason why you should even call it "Black Money."

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  • 21. At 11:06am on 29 Jan 2011, mukund wrote:

    Aam Aadmi wants exact figures of black money deposited in India and out side India, from government of India. We do not know, about will power of Government to do the same.We also want, same money should be spent on developing infrastructure of India. Their should not be any amnesty scheme, for converting black money into white money.

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  • 22. At 5:34pm on 29 Jan 2011, Jay wrote:

    19. At 03:37am on 29 Jan 2011, RaviStLouis wrote:
    Education is the key to stop corruption and create better citizens who are earnest about paying taxes.

    True enough. But do we ever analysed what we get in the name of "education" in India? Mostly junk, that never prepare its students to become a good citizen. Yesterday I attended a meeting where high school students in US competing for their knowledge in US constitution (right, responsibilities and understanding) ( http://www.oclre.org/ ). School students go to police stations, meet local policy makers, judges etc, ask them question (not pre-written). They learn what system they live in, how to use it, what might be the problems and probable solutions.
    We hardly have that in our schools. vert few convent schools that have it are used as just another subject, to score extra marks.
    Few of us are trying to introduce the very basic of civil studies (not to score marks in board exams),mainly in government schools. We need to show school students how our police, judiciary work. take them to local police station, local courts and give them the first hand exposure in how the system works, what they have to deal with in near future. But as expected, all the schools I contacted are "too busy" have have any such extra load. Indian schools (both private and public) are nothing but just another money making industry (without any sense of education) and/or manufacturing industry to produce future cadres for political or other (religious) parties. I assume that police and court officials will also oppose such ideas and expose themselves to such innocent kids. our education prepares a bunch of selfish idiots who are good at mugging up carefully selected "suggestions", few data/info and feeling great by doing routine jobs. In that sense it is not so surprising that "India is among th least innovative countries in the world" (http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20080070798&ch=11/1/2008%2011:56:00%20AM). We are the major source to supply technical manpower in the world but hardly produce ANY true scientist or technocrat. Our educational, research and business houses are dominated by mediocrity and technician grade people. So despite of being the so-called "IT super power" none of the core software (e.g C++, Java, SAP etc) are developed in India by Indian technocrat. We are "great" to do only routine, mainly maintenance jobs and feel great about it.

    Our government was and still is not at all sincere to education. See the fate of "right to education bill". It is practically an eye wash and hardly have any sincere desire to make education a basic, universal and fundamental right. For detail one can read the excellent analysis in "Nature India" forum (http://network.nature.com/groups/natureindia/forum/topics/3340). We have enough money to organize events like Common Wealth Games and many other such personally financially beneficial events than investing in our education or other basic infrastructure development. I have not seen many Indian parents who demand 'education" for their kids, even in the so-called 'elite" schools in India. They want marks, career success (in terms of money and position); not knowledge or honesty or any sense of justice. Such people can not have a civilized, democratic country. They do not deserve it.
    We are only getting what we deserve. If we want to change it, we need to change our own views about education, about our rights and responsibilities for our country.

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  • 23. At 5:48pm on 29 Jan 2011, Jay wrote:

    19. At 03:37am on 29 Jan 2011, RaviStLouis wrote:
    Education is the key to stop corruption and create better citizens who are earnest about paying taxes.

    True enough. But do we ever analyzed what we get in the name of "education" in India? Mostly junk, that never prepare its students to become a good citizen. Yesterday I attended a meeting where high school students in US competing for their knowledge in US constitution (right, responsibilities and understanding). School students go to police stations, meet local policy makers, judges etc, ask them question to know if they have understood it (and not just parroting prepared statements). They learn what system they live in, how to use it, what might be the problems and probable solutions.
    We hardly have that in our schools. vert few convent schools that have it are used as just another subject, to score extra marks.
    Few of us are trying to introduce the very basic of civil studies (not to score marks in board exams), mainly in government schools. We need to show school students how our police, judiciary work. Take them to local police station, local courts and give them the first hand exposure in how the system works, what they have to deal with in near future. But as expected, all the schools I contacted are "too busy" have have any such extra load. Indian schools (both private and public) are nothing but just another money making industry (without any sense of education) and/or manufacturing industry to produce future cadres for political or other (religious) parties. I assume that police and court officials will also oppose such ideas and expose themselves to such innocent kids. our education prepares a bunch of selfish idiots who are good at mugging up carefully selected "suggestions", few data/info and feeling great by doing routine jobs. In that sense it is not so surprising that "India is among th least innovative countries in the world" (http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20080070798&ch=11/1/2008%2011:56:00%20AM). We are the major source to supply technical manpower in the world but hardly produce ANY true scientist or technocrat. Our educational, research and business houses are dominated by mediocrity and technician grade people. So despite of being the so-called "IT super power" none of the core software (e.g C++, Java, SAP etc) are developed in India by Indian technocrat. We are "great" to do only routine, mainly maintenance jobs and feel great about it.

    Our government was and still is not at all sincere to education. See the fate of "right to education bill". It is practically an eye wash and hardly have any sincere desire to make education a basic, universal and fundamental right. For detail one can read the excellent analysis in "Nature India" forum (http://network.nature.com/groups/natureindia/forum/topics/3340). We have enough money to organize events like Common Wealth Games and many other such personally financially beneficial events than investing in our education or other basic infrastructure development. I have not seen many Indian parents who demand 'education" for their kids, even in the so-called 'elite" schools in India. They want marks, career success (in terms of money and position); not knowledge or honesty or any sense of justice. Such people can not have a civilized, democratic country. They do not deserve it.
    We are only getting what we deserve. If we want to change it, we need to change our own views about education, about our rights and responsibilities for our country.

    Complain about this comment

  • 24. At 5:56pm on 29 Jan 2011, Essar wrote:

    When this reader left India more than forty years ago, there was a lot of clamor about "black money" then. Many people complained about corruption and how corrupt people and tax evaders stored their money in Swiss bank accounts.

    That was more than forty years ago.

    Now, forty years later, there is a lot of clamor about "black money". Many people complain about corruption and how corrupt people and tax evaders store their money in Swiss bank accounts.

    Nothing really has changed - except that and probably even more money (far more) is being stashed away. No one has the gall or the guts to tackle corruption. Do not also expect that government enforcement agencies to do anything; following a Bengali phrase - "one cannot exorcise demons with mustard seeds if the seeds themselves contain the demons".

    Hence forty years from now, the scenario will remain - people's clamor notwithstanding.

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