Posts Tagged 'NDA'

UPA now admits Saraswati existed

UPA now admits Saraswati existed

Rajesh Singh/Santanu Banerjee | New Delhi/ Daily Pioneer/ Dec.13, 2009
http://epaper.dailypioneer.com/THEPIONEER/PIONEER/2009/12/13/ArticleHtmls/13_12_2009_001_005.shtml?Mode=1
Earlier, had refused to agree despite Govt agencies confirming existence of river
I n a significant shift from its earlier stand that probes conducted so far showed no trace of the mythical river, the Union Government has recently admitted that scientists have discovered water channels indicating “beyond doubt” the existence of the “Vedic Saraswati.”
The Government’s fresh submission came in response to an unstarred question in Rajya Sabha on December 3 by Prakash Javadekar (BJP), who wanted to know whether satellite images had “established the underground track of Saraswati, and if so, why should the precious water resources not be exploited to meet growing demands.”
To this, the Union Water Resources Ministry quoted in writing the conclusion of a study jointly conducted by scientists of ISRO, Jodhpur and the Rajasthan Government’s Ground Water Department, published in the Journal of Indian Society of Remote Sensing. Besides other things, the authors had said that “clear signals of palaeo-channels on the satellite imagery in the form of a strong and powerful continuous drainage system in the North-West region and occurrence of archaeological sites of pre-Harappan, Harappan and post-Harappan ages beyond doubt indicate the existence of a mighty palaeodrainage system of the Vedic Saraswati river in this region… The description and magnanimity of these channels also matches with the river Saraswati described in the Vedic literature.”
A leading educationist and currently chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Yash Pal, who had published in 1980 in his own words “a small paper on the existence of Saraswati river which attracted attention,” concurred with the view.
“Surveys so far have brought out clearly the path the river had taken when in flow,” the national research professor told The Pioneer. He did a stint with ISRO (which has played a pivotal role in the probes so far) from 19731980 where he set up the Space Application Centre.
On whether the Union Government should assume a proactive role on the issue of reviving the river to tackle the water shortages, he said, “With advancement of technology more research should be conducted. The river was not lost yesterday; perhaps due to tectonic shifts it disappeared ten thousand years ago. We have to keep these issues in mind.”
All through its tenure until now, the UPA Government had denied the existence of the mystery river. Then Culture Minister Jaipal Reddy had told Parliament that excavations conducted so far at nine sites had not revealed any trace of the lost river Saraswati. He stated that the UPA Government had not extended the sanction for the project given by the NDA Government. Giving a progress report of the Saraswati River Heritage Project launched by the NDA Government, he had said that though the project report was prepared in September 2003 envisaging a cost of Rs 36.02 crore, it was later slashed to Rs 4.98 crore.
The Leftists, who commanded great influence over the first five years of the UPA regime, too, were dismissive of the evidences. Senior leaders even castigated probe agencies for `wasting’ time and money over the study of the mystery river. Three years ago, senior CPI(M) leader and Politburo member Sitaram Yechury slammed the ASI for its efforts.
A Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture, which he headed in 2006, said, “The ASI has deviated in its working and has failed in spearheading a scientific discipline of archaeology. A scientific institution like the ASI did not proceed correctly in this matter.”
These assertions had come despite mounting evidence of the river collected by central agencies such as Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Geological Survey of India (GSI), Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC), Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and the Central Groundwater Authority (under the Water Resources Ministry). The Government had also failed to acknowledge expert opinion that the river’s revival could tackle the increasing water demands of more than 20 crore people in the North-West region of the country.
The first national impetus for research on Saraswati came during the NDA regime when the then Union Culture Minister Jagmohan in June 2002 announced excavations to trace the river’s course. He named a team of four experts – Baldeo Sahai of ISRO, Ahmedabad, archaeologist S Kalyan Raman, glaciologist Y K Puri and water consultant Madhav Chitle – for the task. But even earlier, States like Haryana had begun their study of the `underground river.’ Talking of the progress, SL Aggarwal, an official in Haryana Irrigation Department said, “Work on the 3.5 km stretch of river Saraswati between Jyotisar and Bibipur would be completed in one-and-a-half months and then we would be able to revive the ancient river and be able to use the water for irrigation purposes.” The Haryana Government recently sanctioned Rs 10.05 crore for the project of revival of the river, with the Oil and Natural Gas Commission carrying out geophysical and geoelectric surveys for drilling of wells in association with Kurukshetra University for exploratory purposes.
A non-government organisation (NGO), Saraswati Nadi Sodh Sansthan, has also been working for the revival of the ancient river through its entire track. Two seminars were held on this issue on October 22, 2008 and November 21, 2009 at Kurukshetra where representatives from ONGC, Geological Survey of India and Indian Space Research Organisation were invited.
Rajasthan too has been an active participant in the project. Some four decades ago the Archeological Survey of India (GSI) had conducted excavations at a village named Kalibanga in Srigananagar district of Rajasthan, unearthing a full- fledged township beneath a mound, locally called `Thed.’ The ASI researchers came to the conclusion that the sight belonged to the Harappan period.
Subsequent studies revealed that this flourishing town was situated on the banks of the Saraswati which once flowed from this part of the Rajasthan desert.
About two decades ago, scientists at Central Arid Zone Research Institute (CAZRI) at Jodhpur launched a project to track down the traces.
They concluded that the ancient channels were a dead river that could well be Saraswati. Interestingly, here, the ancient texts and the geographical history of the region were constant bases of reference of the studies.
Analyses of images earlier taken by the American satellite Landsat in the 1970’s clearly showed the presence of underground water in a definitive pattern in the Jaisalmer region. As part of the project, then, underground water researchers were asked to dig bore wells at places from where this lost river used to flow. They selected Chandan Lathi near Jaisalmer for this purpose.
To the surprise of researchers, the water found after digging the bore wells at places on the course of the river was not only sweet but available in plenty.
Encouraged by this discovery, they dug two dozen bore well in the area, from where the river used to flow, and in all of them they found sweet water.
A few years later Dr Vakankar, a noted historian, as part his Itihas Sanklan Yojna, visited this and other sites linked with the river.
Together with another expert Moropant Pingle, he concluded that the Saraswati used to flow from this part of Rajasthan, Sirsa in Haryana, Bhatinda in Punjab and Srigangangar district in Rajasthan.
With the Government indicating a shift in its position, it remains to be seen whether the research work by central agencies that had come to a near halt, will now resume.
(With inputs from Lokpal Sethi in Jaipur and Nishu Mahajan in Chandigarh)

Getting India’s money back from Tax Havens Congress caught in its own web

Getting India’s money back from Tax Havens Congress caught in its own web

– Dr. Arun Shourie

Stupefied by the strong endorsement all across the country of the demand that the money looted from India must be brought back, the Congress has tied itself in knots. Its spokesmen – led, as will be clear from the arguments they have advanced, by four lawyers – have given five reactions:

Why is Mr. Advani taking up this matter now, on the eve of elections?

The GE-20 meeting was not the proper forum for taking up the issue.

There is doubt about the figures.

Why did the BJP government to replace FERA by FEMA, and thereby make the offences compoundable?

Is Mr. Advani not unwittingly alerting those with illegal money abroad to spirit it away from Switzerland to other tax havens?

What was the NDA doing when it was in office? In any case there is doubt about the figures.

The reactions betray panic as even the littlest reflection would have shown the “arguments” to be indefensible. Let us consider them one by one.

Why is Mr. Advani taking up this matter now, on the eve of elections?

The fact, of course, is that Mr. Advani took up the matter with the Prime Minister in April last year. He wrote to Dr. Manmohan Singh soon after it became known that the Government of Germany had succeeded in obtaining names of persons who had stashed money in the LGT Bank in Lichtenstein. The reply that P. Chidambram, the then Finance Minister, sent him showed that the Government intended to do little except keep going through the pretence of taking some steps. Soon thereafter, we were alarmed to learn that a senior official of the Finance Ministry had written to the then Indian Ambassador in Germany not to press the Germans for release of the names of Indians in the list that they had obtained from Lichtenstein — lest the Germans take offence and conclude that they were being pressurized and their bona fides were being questioned! [This information was later confirmed by report filed by Amitabh Ranjan in The Indian Express of 31 March 2009.] Subsequently, we took up the matter in Parliament also. And yet the evasion, “Why now?”

The GE-20 meeting was not the proper forum for taking up the issue.

This customarily self-serving rationalization was put out by one of the Congress party’s lawyers and spokesmen. At this very time the party was trying to insinuate that, actually speaking, the Prime Minister had taken up the matter at the G-20 Summit. As its spokesmen could not point to any statement he made either at the Summit itself or even at the press meet the PM had held after the Summit, they drew solace from a passing reference to the matter in the speech he had made at the dinner hosted by Gordon Brown.

In any case, if the G-20 Summit was not the right forum for taking up this matter, how is it that in the communiqué that the G-20 leaders issued on 2 April 2009, in paragraph 15, entitled, “Strengthening the Financial System,” they pledged themselves “to take action against non-cooperative jurisdictions, including tax havens. We stand ready to deploy sanctions to protect our public finances and financial systems. The era of banking secrecy is over. We note that the OECD has today published a list of countries assessed by the Global Forum against the international standard for exchange of tax information”?

Were they also, in the view of the Congress party, acting inappropriately when they made such a strong commitment in their communiqué at the Summit?

And recall that no sooner had they issued the threat of imposing sanctions that countries which had been black-listed by the OECD that very day began declaring that they would indeed sign up on the agreement to exchange tax information, and that includes evasion.

In any case, there is doubt about the figures.

As is its custom, the Congress is trying to cover up the basic question of the money which has been looted from India and is lying in tax havens, by raising questions about the precision of figures and estimates. This is exactly the kind of legalisms with which persons like Mr P. Chidambaram and other legitimizers were fielded to cover up the loot from Bofors. In its paper, “Overview of the OECD’s Work on International Tax Evasion,” the OECD itself lists studies that state that there are $1.7 trillion to $11.5 trillion which are today parked in tax havens. This paper of the OECD has been widely reported in the Indian press. The basic point is: even if the amounts are just a few scores of billion dollars and not one and a half trillion dollars, why should they not be brought back to India? And the fact is that other countries, much smaller countries with none of the pretensions of being a “super power, have succeeded in getting their money back. Even as of October last year, when the OECD released its paper, little Ireland had succeeded in recovering almost a billion Euros through an investigation into offshore banks.

Given that even small countries like Ireland have got money back, is it not a shame, is it not an outrage that, as of yesterday, 18 April, 2009, The Times of India, should be quoting the Swiss Ambassador to India as stating on record that till now, the Swiss Government has received no request – not even a request – from the Indian Government?

The real question is different: can the money looted from India be brought back to the country when the attitude of the government continues to be as determinedly inactive as that of the present Government?

Can the Government which allowed Ottavio Quattrochi to take his money out of banks – where it was lying frozen on court orders – be trusted to bring back the loot that is lying in Swiss banks and other tax havens? Can the Government which prostituted the CBI so that he may get away from Argentina be trusted to bring the loot back?

Why did the BJP government to replace FERA by FEMA, and thereby make the offences compoundable?

Again, the Congress is relying on the short memory of its audience. The fact of the matter is that no one had been pressing more for the replacement of the harsh provisions of FERA than the Congress itself. The changes were being contemplated since 1996. The demand for doing away with the harsh provisions came to a crescendo during the Government of Mr. VP Singh when FERA came to be used for interrogating captains of industry – like Mr. S.L. Kirloskar – under harsh circumstances. As news reports of that period themselves indicate, FEMA which was approved by the Government in July 1998, was on the lines of a draft which had been prepared under the leadership of the preceding finance minister, Mr P. Chidambaram. Even today, you can go to the website of Rediff-on-the-net, go to their dispatch of 25 July, 1998, on “FEMA, Money Bills: Cabinet nods, Parliament’s turn next,” and you will read, “The Bills were broadly on the lines of a draft prepared under the leadership of then Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambram.”

In any event, there is no mystery about the reasons on account of which the law was changed. They are well set out in the following passage:

“Until recently, we had a law known as the Foreign Exchange (Regulation) Act. Its object was to conserve and augment the forex reserves of the country. The way to hell, it is said, is paved with good intentions. Like many well-intentioned laws, FERA paved the way to disaster. FERA created a flourishing black market in foreign exchange. It brought into the economic lexicon the word ‘Hawala’. Illegal forex transactions became the fuel for the growth of crime syndicates with trans-border connections.

“FERA also became a tool of oppression. Successive governments persisted with FERA and added COFFEPOSA and SAFEMA. International markets do not respect draconian laws that run counter to common sense. India’s reserves, far from being augmented, dwindled at an alarming rate… Mercifully, FERA was buried finally on May 31, 2000.”

When and where was this written? In an article that appeared The Indian Express on 25 August 2002. Who wrote the article? None other than P. Chidambaram!

Is Mr Advani not unwittingly alerting those with illegal money abroad to spirit it away from Switzerland to other tax havens?

Another clever little statement by yet another clever lawyer of the Congress party! Would the looters who have stashed away money in tax havens from India still need to be alerted after Germany got the names from Lichtenstein as long ago as last year? Would they still need to be alerted after Germany offered to furnish the names to governments that asked for the names? Would they still need to be alerted after the United States got the names from the leading bank of Switzerland, UBS in February this year, and got it to submit to paying a fine of $ 800 million to boot? Would they still need to be alerted after the G-20 leaders, including Dr. Man Mohan Singh as the Congress would like to remind us, declared their determination to get the tax havens to disgorge the names? But such is the confusion in the Congress party and such the brilliance of its lawyers that all it can do is to seek to deflect the nation-wide demand for getting the loot back from tax havens by such witticisms!

What was the NDA doing when it was in office? In any case there is doubt about the figures.

Leaders of the Congress party would be better advised to ask, “During that very period, what was the Congress party doing, what were its lawyers and leaders doing, to thwart the efforts of the NDA Government to uncover the names of persons who had looted the country even on defence deals like Bofors?” But even if the NDA had done nothing – whether on terrorism or money abroad – is that any reason for not hurrying to avail of the unique opportunity that has arisen now?

Even while replacing FERA by FEMA, the NDA Government made sure that it would have an additional two years to file prosecutions under FERA. And it filed as many as 2000 cases against those who were under investigation before FERA lapsed. The reason for doing so, a reason that is well known to lawyers in the Congress party, was that, when a prosecution is filed it is adjudicated according to the law which prevailed at the time at which the case was filed. These are the very cases which the Congress later on did not pursue.

The fact of the matter is that it is now that the unique opportunity has arisen to get the loot back: Germany has succeeded in getting the names; the US has succeeded in getting the names; the G-20 leaders have pledged themselves to ensure the end of bank secrecy; countries that had hitherto refused to share the requisite information are pledging to do so – within a week of their names being published by OECD in the list of countries that were dragging their feet on the question, Costa Rica, Malaysia, Philippines and Uruguay pledged to enter into the relevant agreements.

Conclusion

There is a real fight ahead: a fight in the national interest, a fight that will have to be waged doggedly to get the names from the tax havens and to get the amounts back to India – as tax havens will not easily part with their route to lucre. And not all countries will be eager to wage the fight – so many rulers in Africa, in Latin America, to say nothing of the prince lings of China – will be loath to see the fight succeed. So, determination and leadership will be required of India, and persistence, and forging alliances with civil society in Europe and elsewhere.

Nor are bilateral agreements any substitute to multilateral pressure. With close to seventy tax havens, decades will pass before agreements are concluded with each haven, even as money is spirited from the haven that has signed up to the one that is holding out.

As has been correctly emphasized, a consensus is already emerging across the country. Leaders outside the political realm, parties such as the CPI(M), SP, BSP, JD(U), AIADMK have all demanded that the Government act energetically to get the names from the tax havens and to get back the amounts. Instead of quibbling, the Congress would be well-advised to endorse the consensus, and act on it. Not joining secular forces on even so secular an issue?!

What has UPA Govt. achieved? – A mail from a friend

Dear Friends,

Please take 5 minutes and read it.
General Elections are coming..
And its our right and duty to know what has been achieved and what has happened in last 5 years. Please read and do circulate it…
A) Is this Government really protecting us ??
Nov 7 2006: Mumbai Train Blasts. 209 Killed.
Aug 25 2007: Hyderbad Blasts: 42 Killed
Oct 11 2007: Ajmer Blasts : 2 Killed
May 13 2008: Jaipur Blasts : 68 Killed
July 16 2008: Ahmedabad Blasts : 57 Killed
July 25 2008: Banglaore Blasts: 1 killed
Sept 13 2008: Delhi Blasts: 26 Killed
Sept 27 2008: Delhi Blasts: 2 Killed
Sept 29 2008 : Gujarat Blasts : 1 killed
Oct 21 2008: Imphal Blasts : 17 Killed
Oct 30 2008: Assam Blasts : 40 Killed
Nov 26 2008: Mumbai Attack: 180 killed
Every major city in India has been attacked consistently over the last two years. Since 2004, 3850 Indians have died in Terror attacks in over 3000 incidents. Is the common Indian on the streets really safe ?
Did you know that on the day of the Mumbai train blasts, the Government gave Rs 150 crores for earthquake relief in Pakistan ? Last year our Govt. has given Rs 3,000 crores (600 Million Dollars) to Afghanistan ? This, when victims of terror in India have not yet got aid ? What’s going on ?
B) Is this Government really secular ?
1. When Madrasas are being shut down in Pakistan, the Indian Government is giving them CBSE status !! It is depriving Muslim children in getting secular education. A Madrasa educated person can get a job in any government office without going through the secular education system. Can India afford to have fundamentalists in government departments? Why cannot the government shut down Madrassas and let Muslim children study with the rest ?
2. Our Government has given 25 lakh scholarships ONLY to minority students.
What sin have the majority done not to deserve these ? Why cannot poor students of all communities be given scholarships instead of only Muslim children ?
3. Thanks to the Congress led Government, out of 36000 temples in Andhra Pradesh, 28000 have closed down in the last five years. Do you want the same trend to continue in other parts of the country ? Do you want a Nagaland type of situation in the whole of India ? While government controls most of the Hindu temples, the minority community has had full freedom to organize their religious bodies. The minority communities now have the first right over resources. Is this not a blatant violation of fundamental rights of the majority community ?
4. Why have the minorities in Nagaland, Mizoram & Kashmir not got the similar privileges like the minorities in other states ? Why is the Govt following different rules for different religions ?
C) Is this government really making friends or enemies for India ?
Thanks to a weak and visionless foreign policy, India has created enemies all around. By the Home Minister’s own admission : “India is surrounded by a circle of fire”. Rajiv Gandhi’s vision of a powerful “SAARC” is now defunct.
1. Today, India commands little respect from all its neighbours, despite being the largest democracy in the world.
2. Terrorism has engulfed the country from inside and outside. Of course Pakistan,the motherland of international terrorism continues to be a big threat.
3. China has territorial ambitions on India.
4. Nepal, is now being headed by a Maoist government and is ideologically more aligned to China. While India helped to dismantle the dynastic rule in Nepal our own Government surreptitiously supports dynastic rule within its own party.
5. Myanmar is increasingly aligning with Chinese forces with huge Chinese investments in that region.
6. Indian Policies in Srilanka have made Tamil Nadu burn. Will Tamils ever forgive India for encouraging military assault rather than facilitating peaceful dialogue on their north and north east regions.
7. Bangladesh continues to repeatedly aid and abet terrorism.
D) Is this Government really pro-poor ?
The number of people living below the poverty line has increased by a horrifying 20 per cent. India had some 270 million people below the poverty line in 2004-2005, when the present Government took office. That number has gone up by 55 million, or 20 per cent!
E) Does this Government really care about the nation ?
The Pakistani flag is now being hoisted in five districts of states like Assam where the Muslim population has gone up significantly. 92,000 Hindu and 6,000 Christians are now languishing in refugee camps. The government has turned a blind eye to this.
In the name of security, innocent people have been put in jails, whereas people like Yaasin Malik who has 23 murder charges on him, are moving Scot free and gathering their own strength. Is it acceptable to any patriotic Indian ?
Can the Congress led UPA promise a non-muslim CM in J&K ? Reservation for a Hindu student in Nagaland ? If so, we wholeheartedly support them. Otherwise they should sit at home the next few years and rethink their policies.
Can our politicians stop stooping down to any lengths just for money and power ? Like Mr.Sharad Pawar, who first ditched the Congress and then ditched the people and aligned back with the Congress, just to be in power.
Don’t be deceived. What appears to be communal is not communal, and what appears to be secular is not secular. It is time we change our thinking.
Having said all this even BJP has not proved to be any better. But for now we need a change. Let us choose the lesser of the two evils. The same party brought to power again and again means encouraging unabated corruption.
Stand up for this most tolerant and ancient civilization and prevent this great nation from becoming a communal battleground. As citizens of India we must vote for change.
“And as per the CAG website (Controller Audit General of India) more than 50,000 crores rupees has gone missing from the Govt. Treasury”
WAKE UP INDIANS. LET US VOTE FOR CHANGE.

Vinayachandra B K

‘Indian money in Swiss & other banks is over Rs 70 lakh crore’

‘Indian money in Swiss & other banks is over Rs 70 lakh crore’
Vivek Kaul
Wednesday, April 1, 2009 2:41 IST
Mumbai: It is no secret that black money has been flowing out of the country into Swiss banks and other tax havens worldwide for years now. While there is no official estimate to quote yet, LK Advani, the prime ministerial candidate of BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, recently said it might be in the range of Rs 25,000 crore to Rs 75,000 crore. R Vaidyanathan, professor of finance at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore and a regular columnist for DNA, feels the real figure is many times that number.
At around $1.4 trillion (over Rs 70 lakh crore), it is way over India’s gross domestic product of Rs 43 lakh crore for 2007-08, Vaidyanathan, who was on Tuesday named the head of a taskforce by Advani for preparing a strategic document to get back the national wealth, told DNA. Excerpts:

Which are the various tax havens where the ill-gotten wealth of Indian businessmen and politicians is stored?
There are presumably more than 70 tax havens in the world. Indian wealth could be more in Switzerland and various British/ US islands.

How much Indian money do you think would be locked away in Swiss banks? What is the basis for the estimate you make?
I make this estimate on the basis of a report titled “Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2002–2006, Global Financial Integrity,” written by Dev Kar and Devon-Cartwright Smith. It was a project sponsored by the Ford Foundation and the final report was released sometime back in December 2008.
Financial flows in the context of this report include proceeds from both illicit activities such as corruption (bribery and embezzlement of national wealth), criminal activity, and the proceeds of licit business that become illicit when transported across borders in contravention of applicable laws and regulatory frameworks (most commonly in order to evade payment of taxes).
In 2006, the most recent year of the Global Financial Integrity (GFI) study, developing countries lost an estimated $858.6 billion to $1.06 trillion in illicit financial outflows. Even at the lower end of the range of estimates, the volume of illicit financial flows coming out of developing countries increased at a compound rate of 18.2% over the five-year period analysed for the study.

How much of this was siphoned out of India?
On an average, for the five-year period of this study, Asia accounts for approximately 50% of overall illicit financial flows from all developing countries. This report shows that the average amount moved from India annually during 2002-06 is $27.3 billion. This means, during the five-year period, the amount taken away is $27.3 billion x 5 = $136.5 billion.
It is not that all these amounts went to Swiss banks; it has gone to different tax and secret shelters. The share of Swiss banks in this dirty money is a third of the global aggregate; some $45 billion out of the 136.5 billion stashed away from India would have been hoarded in these years in Swiss banks. This appears in page 30 of the report mentioned above.
The important point is that this is only for five years. More amounts were stashed away during the Nehruvian socialist regime. So the loot for 55 years would be several times the amount. In fact, in those days, the Indian rupee commanded a better value per US dollar, so fewer rupees could get a dollar. Hence the estimation that Indian money stashed away may be of the order of $1.4 trillion.

How did the money get out?
There are several methods/ reasons — under-invoicing/ over-invoicing of exports and imports and getting the balance stored abroad; kickbacks from major defence/ civilian contracts; in the olden days, smuggling of gold and illegal money; transactions done abroad and not reported here; hawala funds; funds earned by artists/ entertainment industry/ sports people and stashed away abroad, etc. When you want to indulge in adharma, hundred ways are open.

Do you feel international terrorist organisations use the tax-haven route to send across money to finance their nefarious activities?
Even our national security advisor, M K Narayanan, has spoken about it in Berlin.
You recently wrote, “Under pressure from federal authorities, Swiss bank UBS is closing the hidden offshore accounts of its well-heeled American clients, potentially allowing their secrets to spill into the open.”

Do you feel the government of India should also demand all the Indian black money in Swiss banks back?
Of course, India should and must act. We are not a banana republic.

How can the government go about doing this?
By putting it on the global agenda. Put it in G20. Put it in IMF. Put it in Egmont Group. Also take a lead among all developing countries. Support US/ German/ French efforts.

Do you feel Swiss authorities and other tax havens will cooperate with us on this issue if we take the initiative?
It is not our pressure but that of the US, which will make them cooperate. When a family is in deep financial crisis, it tries to look at the small amount saved under the sugar jar by grandma. In the same way, developed economies are desperate for every dollar.
Even if we do not act due to their efforts, the list of crooks may be out. Then, we will be in a dangerous social situation since the who’s who of India will be there. Instead, we should get the list and get the funds and decide on the steps to sterilise it and the punishment to be given out, etc. Otherwise the world will laugh at us. We will be worse than a Nigeria (Sani Abacha) or Phillipines (Markose).

Do you feel the government will do this, given that a lot of the black money belongs to politicians?
Public pressure will make them do it. Plus, the evolving global situation against tax havens also might act in our favour. The money belongs to the poor farmers and unorganised workers.

Do you see businessmen applying pressure on the government to thwart any attempt to get back this money?
The world situation is such that Indian businessmen will want to bring it back now, given the attractive returns in India. The entire proprietary notes route to invest in the stock market was conceived for that.

You wrote in one of your columns that the German foreign intelligence agency BND got the names of 1,400 clients of the Liechtenstein- based LTG Bank who were suspected tax evaders. Of the 1,400, only 600 were supposed to be Germans. Do you think the rest would include Indians? Has the Indian government approached the
German government for the list?
Indian names will be there. Our tax evaders and crooks are like Maha Vishnu, present in all continents and all tax havens, in the sea, on the earth, in the air. But our government has been lukewarm in its response to this issue. It should have immediately dispatched senior officials and the finance minister to get the names.

Internal Security under UPA Government

One of the very good articles that I have ever seen. Shekhar Gupta has written well on the neglect of internal security by UPA Government and its minority appeassement policies.

http://www.indianexpress.com/story/343687._.html