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, HervĂ© 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

Why do I lend my support to voices protesting world class renovation of Gandhi Ashram?

By Martin Macwan* One would not expect an activist working on Dalit rights to join such a protest. Dalits carry unhealed trauma that Gandhi caused to Dr BR Ambedkar and the Dalit cause of effective political representation by using violent means of his own definition in the event of the Poona Pact. This apart, Gandhi’s ideas in general, which changed often, on caste were orthodox. I have nothing to add to the subject after the sharpest critique offered by Dr Ambedkar.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Odisha bauxite mining project to 'devastate' life of 2,500 Adivasi, Dalit farmers: NAPM

Counterview Desk  While the public hearing on mining in Mali hills has been cancelled due to protests by Adivasi and Dalit farmers of the Mali Parbat Surakhya Samiti, Odisha, who have been protesting against the proposed bauxite mining project, India’s top civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has said it is “deeply concerned” at the decision of the Government of Odisha to push the project in a Schedule-V Adivasi-belt Koraput district against the interests of the people and environment.

Iswarchandra Vidyasagar was a 'frustrated' reformer who turned into a conservative

By Bhaskar Sur "If someone says the Manusamhita was written by all wise Manu and the principal scripture of the land and if he asks me to throw it away, I'll say it is nothing short of atrocious audacity." -- Iswarchandra Vidyasagar

Inaccurate gender-relevant data 'spoiling' government policy on Covid social impact

By Simi Mehta*  The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been different across vulnerable groups. They were hit by the pandemic at various stages, whether it was accessibility to medical treatment or financial support. The second wave witnessed human suffering at a level where one can never forget the traumatized faces of people due to the inaccessibility and unavailability of essential medical services such as hospitals beds and oxygen. The probability of the third wave has also been one of the major upcoming challenges.

2002 riots: Gujarat assembly 'misinformed' about dereliction of duty, says ex-DGP

By Rajiv Shah  Former Gujarat topcop RB Sreekumar, an IPS officer of the 1971 batch, has alleged that the Gujarat government gave “totally false information” on the floor of the State Assembly regarding the appeal he made to the Gujarat governor for the “initiation of departmental action against those responsible for culpable negligence in maintenance of public order and investigation of genocidal crimes” during the 2002 riots.

Flamboyant 'demagogues' adjust politics, personality in shadow of democracy

Modi, Erdogan, Bolsonaro By Ajit Singh The terms dictators and demagogues are used interchangeably in various contexts, but there is a difference. The former rule over a totalitarian states where governments are able to exercise complete influence over every aspect of citizens’ life, whereas the latter are a "wannabe dictators" but due to the system of checks and balances they are are not fully capable to create police states.

Celebrating birthday amidst image of 'coerced, submissive' India ruled by a strong leader

Pushkar Raj*  As the weeks long birthday festivity of the leadership was being rejoiced India wide, the Covid was still raging in several parts of India. The carnival was in line with the post-Covid decisions and actions of the leadership demonstrating a pursuit of personal power and glory instead of national interest in times of disease and death.

'Devastating impact': Rural workers suffer as Govt of India NREGA budget down by 34%

Counterview Desk  A civil rights group, the NREGA Sangharsh Morcha has sent a letter to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj stating that 34 per cent decrease in the fiscal budget of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) for year 2021-22 has added to woes on India’s rural population, already suffering from “devastating impact” of the Covid-19 pandemic.