New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha was today adjourned for about 90 minutes following noisy protests by members of the Trinamool Congress, who stormed the Well demanding that black money stashed by Indians in Swiss Banks be brought back.
The protests erupted during the Question Hour when TMC member Sukhendu Sekhar Roy sought to know from Finance Minister Piyush Goyal the unaccounted deposits of Indians recovered so far from Switzerland, in how many cases have proceedings have been initiated and when would the Indian people get the promised Rs 15 lakh in their bank account.
“I think the honourable member may have some information which the government does not have. If he is privy to any information about black money, I think he should put it before the government so that the government can take action,” Goyal said in his reply to Roy’s question.
This provoked the TMC members who started raising slogans and some of them even moved into the Well. The ruckus, during which Congress MPs were also on their feet and protesting vociferously, led Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu to adjourn the House for about 90 minutes till 2 PM.
In reply to the question on black money by Ram Kumar Kashyap of the INLD, Goyal said the money deposited by Indians in Swiss Banks had gone down by 80 per cent between 2013 and the end of 2017.
He said the data collected by Swiss National bank in collaboration with Bank for International Settlements (BIS) show that loans and deposits of Indians, other than banks, in the Swiss banks declined by 34.5 per cent in 2017 as compared to 2016.
Further, there has been a significant reduction in the Swiss non-bank loans and deposits of Indians by 80.2 per cent between 2013 and 2017, Goyal said in the written reply.
He also said the Automatic Exchange of Information, based on Common Reporting Standard, has commenced from 2017 with many countries enabling India to receive financial account information of Indian residents. This will also be useful in bringing the unaccounted income and assets to tax, he said.
In the written reply, Goyal said the disclosure of information received under a tax treaty was governed by the confidentiality provisions of the treaty.
Further, the disclosure of information in case of individual assessees is protected as per the provisions of Section 138 of the Income Tax Act, 1961.
“As regards the exchange of information requests, the government has made 4,843 exchange of information requests to foreign jurisdictions in the last four financial years and proceedings are going on,” Goyal said in the Rajya Sabha, amiod protests by TMC members.