Swiss to ratify pact by next year – but bar 'fishing expeditions'

India may finally get its much-awaited access to information on illicit money parked in Swiss banks early next year, as the Swiss parliament is expected to ratify the double taxation avoidance agreement (DTAA) only in December.

The agreement was signed in August 2010, but it is yet to be ratified by Switzerland, where the process includes a 100-day referendum period when public opinion will be invited.

On Thursday, the Indian government again pressed for early ratification of the DTAA. According to a report, this was almost the first issue raised by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee when Johann N Schneider-Ammann, head of the federal department of economic affairs in Switzerland, called on him.

''The status is DTAA is in parliamentarian process in Switzerland. We are running through this process in the next couple of months ... we will be ready on the Swiss side to conclude the agreement before the end of this year,'' Schneider-Ammann told reporters after the meeting.

''We do want to solve issues around black money. I can tell you Switzerland is very much interested. We respect all the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) prime conditions,'' he added.

The amended DTAA will facilitate exchange of information between the two countries, especially banking information in specific cases. India has already completed the formalities for implementation of the revised DTAA.