Skip to main content

Modi "unlikely" to sign deal on black money during Switzerland visit: It's not on agenda, says Swiss official

By Our Representative
In a setback to his alleged efforts to bring money stashed abroad, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is unlikely to sign a deal on data sharing during his to Switzerland on June 6. Reporting this, a top Swiss media organization has said, the trip comes when "Switzerland is under great pressure to share banking information with India."
A report published in swissinfo.ch -- the international service of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) -- says, this would happen despite the fact that "even before being elected prime minister in 2014, Modi saw the political potential in raising the issue of untaxed income stashed abroad by Indians."
The report quotes a spokesperson for the State Secretariat for Financial Affairs as saying, “We have not been informed that any agreement will be signed.” The report comments, "For now, it is likely that Modi must content himself with a view of the Swiss Alps."
One of the most authoritative media houses of Switerland, SBC's international partners include Radio Netherlands Worldwide, Radio Sweden, Radio Canada International, NHK World, Radio Praha and Polskie Radio.
The report says, the setback will come when "questions are being raised about (Modi) government’s commitment to punish financial wrongdoers." It adds, "Therefore Modi is under significant pressure to show something for his Swiss stopover. However, this is unlikely to happen."
Recalling how barely three months after joining Twitter in 2009, Modi initiated a nationwide poll on bringing back black money (untaxed assets) from Switzerland, the report says, "Bringing back black money squirreled away in Swiss banks by Indian tax dodgers, was one of the pillars of his election campaign in 2014."
"He utilised it with great effect to discredit the ruling Congress party and raise hopes of achieving what others had failed", the report says, adding, "However, Swiss banking secrecy and limitations of bilateral treaties have frustrated his government’s efforts in delivering the promises."
According to the report, "India has been looking into 782 names taken from a list of HSBC bank clients given to foreign authorities by former employee, Hervé Falciani, who worked at the bank’s Geneva branch. Despite pressure from India, Switzerland had refused to compromise on its stance of rejecting requests for banking information that are based on stolen bank data."
However, it notes, "But Switzerland has shown signs of being willing to bend the rules a bit to appease India. In October 2015, it reached an agreement with India to 'examine requests for which investigations have been carried out independently from what the Swiss government considers as data obtained in breach of Swiss law'.”
"The change in the Swiss stance towards Indian HSBC clients comes at a time when it is under intense OECD scrutiny to respond to requests for information", the report says, adding, achieving global standard of tax compliance "will help Switzerland be seen as taking money laundering and corruption seriously and cement its position as a safe place to do business."
"Beginning the latter half of this year, a Peer Review Group (PRG) comprising 30 countries will evaluate Switzerland’s performance over several months. India happens to be one of four vice-chairs of the PRG and will likely wield considerable influence, especially when it comes to the issue of stolen data", the report says.
"Refusal to entertain any information requests from India, even when they are based on stolen data, could potentially cost the Swiss their chance to clear Phase 2 and meet the OECD’s global standard on tackling tax evasion", the report says.
Modi, will no doubt be hoping to get India into this list as soon as possible. But this is a time-consuming process as each country deal has to be approved by both houses of the Swiss parliament. It is unlikely that any deal will be inked during this visit.

Comments

TRENDING

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

J&K continues to be haunted, as parts of India 'degenerate' into quasi-Kashmir situation

By Rajendran Narayanan*, Sandeep Pandey**
“Jab har saans mein bandook dikhe toh baccha kaise bekhauf rahe?” (How can a child be fearless when she sees a gun in every breath?) remarked Anwar, a gardener from Srinagar, when asked about the situation in Kashmir. On November 30, 2019, a walk through an iron gate in a quiet neighbourhood of Srinagar took us inside a public school. It was 11 am when typically every school is abuzz with activity. Not here though.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Indians have made 119 nations their ‘karma bhumi’: US-based Hindu NGO tells Rupani

Counterview Desk
In a stinging letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, the US-based Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), referring to the report citing his justification for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) – that “while Muslims can choose any one of the 150 Islamic countries in the world (for residence), India is the only country for Hindus" – has said, he should remember, Hindus have made several countries, including USA, their home.

What about religious persecution of Dalits, Adivasis, asks anti-CAA meet off Ahmedabad

By Rajiv Shah
A well-attended Dalit rights meet under the banner “14 Pe Charcha” (discussion on Article 14 of the Indian Constitution), alluding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi well-known campaign phrase of the 2014 Parliamentary elections, “chai pe charcha” (discussion over cup of tea), organized off Ahmedabad, has resolved on Wednesday to hold a 14 kilometres-long rally on April 14 to oppose the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), enacted on December 10-11.

Upendra Baxi on foolish excellence, Indian judges and Consitutional cockroaches

By Rajiv Shah
In a controversial assertion, top legal expert Upendra Baxi has sought to question India's Constitution makers for neglecting human rights and social justice. Addressing an elite audience in Ahmedabad, Prof Baxi said, the constitutional idea of India enunciated by the Constituent Assembly tried to resolve four key conflicting concepts: governance, development, rights and justice.

Tata Mundra's possible closure? Power ministry's 'pressure tactic' on consumer states

By Bharat Patel*
Tata power has announced to the Union Ministry of Power that Tata Power may be forced to stop operating  its imported coal-based Mundra Ultra-Mega Power Project (UMPP) after February, 2020. It is not only unfortunate but also criminal that irreversible damage has been caused to the fragile ecosystem of Mundra coast for a project that will have a running life of only seven years.

Population control? 10% Indian couples want to delay next pregnancy, but fail

Counterview Desk
Shireen Jejeebhoy, director at Aksha Centre for Equity and Wellbeing, previously senior associate at the Population Council, India, argues that the debate on the country's population was fuelled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day address to the nation, where he drew attention to “concern” about the challenges posed by this ‘exploding’ population growth, needs to centre around the promotion of rights and education, instead of the language of explosion and the threat of coercion that this term implies.

Kerala governor turned History Congress into political arena, 'insulted' Prof Irfan Habib

Counterview Desk
In a signed statement, office bearers of the Aligarh Society of History and Archaeology (ASHA), Prof Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi (president), Prof Jabir Raza (vice-president), Prof Manvendra Kumar Pundhir (secretary) and Prof Farhat Hasan (joint secretary), have said that Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan had sought to insult veteran historian Prof Irfan Habib, 88, at the 80th session of the Indian History Congress, even as turning it into his “political arena”.