Bill for stronger 'black money' penalties likely this session

18 March 2015

The union cabinet on Tuesday approved stronger penalties including rigorous imprisonment for those having unaccounted money abroad.

The bill, seeking to tighten controls even on banks and financial institutions abetting such offenders, may even be tabled before Parliament goes for a recess from Saturday for a month.

Announced by finance minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget speech for 2015-16, it imposes a penalty of 300 per cent of wealth hidden abroad on offenders and up to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment for them.

Parliament will break from 21 March to 19 April for a mid-session recess.

But with nothing major on the Lok Sabha agenda over the next three days, the government is likely to introduce the Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets (Imposition of New Tax) Bill, 2015, in the Lok Sabha in the first leg of the budget session.

Moreover, the bill is unlikely to face any serious opposition, as all political parties pay lip service to curbing the role of illicit money in the Indian economy even though it is no secret that their actual practice is quite to the contrary.

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