In what could be called as a small win for Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his fight against black money, Swiss President Doris Leuthard assured him that once the law is cleared by the Swiss parliament, automatic exchange of information on black money will begin by 2019. The Swiss parliament is likely to clear the law by the end of this year.
Modi fought the 2014 General election on the issue of corruption and black money. However, many accuse him of almost nil success on this front while there is a lot of expectations from him as well. Though PM Modi has shown his intentions by appointing an SIT against Black money right in the very first Cabinet meeting, people have started questioning the action taken by government in this regard.
Both leaders discussed several issues of issues of mutual interest. As for India, the foremost concern is bringing back the black money stashed away by Indians in Swiss banks.
After this delegation level meeting, PM Modi emphasized the importance of transparency in financial matters to keep ‘dirty money’ in check. He said, “Financial transparency is very important when it comes to issues such as black money, dirty money, Hawala or drugs and arms smuggling. Switzerland is cooperating with us to get rid of this curse”.
This development is a part of an ongoing process that was initiated when India and Switzerland signed a joint declaration on 22 November 2016 on the introduction of the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI).
Prime Minister Modi also reposed confidence in the Swiss leadership and said, “Last year we signed an agreement on automatic exchange of information. After completion of the internal process in Switzerland, we will start getting information”.
Swiss Federal Council had earlier ratified the automatic exchange of financial account information with India and 40 other jurisdictions to facilitate immediate sharing of details of suspected black money.
The outcomes of these moves on both fronts are still awaited.