“The Swiss minister and I are discussing with each other how information into specific accounts (relating to black money) can be provided by the Swiss government to the Indian government
New Delhi, April 26 (PTI): India and Switzerland are discussing ways to share information on specific accounts that may have black money stashed away in the European nation, finance minister P. Chidambaram said here today.
The minister said he had received a reply on his letter from his Swiss counterpart and will send India’s response in the next few days.
“This is a matter where the Swiss minister and I are discussing with each other how information into specific accounts (relating to black money) can be provided by the Swiss government to the Indian government,” Chidambaram said while replying to a media query at the AICC headquarters.
On his letter to Swiss finance minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf for revealing information on bank accounts in Switzerland, he said, “We have got a reply. I got a reply a week ago and we are working on another letter now.”
On the content of the letter, he said, “It’s a long reply and the minister has defended the Swiss position in some matters. The minister has made a conciliatory statement in one of the matters. The reply is being studied very carefully and we will send a further letter in the next few days.”
In his two-page letter to the Swiss minister in March, Chidambaram had threatened to drag the European nation to multilateral platforms such as the G20 for continuing to block its requests.
Chidambaram also reminded her of the April 2009 declaration adopted by G20 leaders which stated that the “era of bank secrecy is over”.
In a strongly worded letter, he said India might examine further steps such as declaring Switzerland a non-cooperative jurisdiction.
Chidambaram had said Switzerland did not honour the terms of the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between the two nations, under which information about Indians with accounts in Swiss banks had been sought by the tax authorities.
Chidambaram today said the current account deficit had been brought down significantly to $32 billion and fiscal deficit contained within the target in 2013-14.
Chidambaram, however, said there had been a shortfall in overall tax collection in the last fiscal.
“We are completely satisfied that we will achieve the fiscal deficit target as projected in the interim budget (4.6 per cent of GDP during 2013-14).
“The news on current account deficit is of course extremely good. The CAD for the year that ended will be only $32 billion against the previous year’s $88 billion,” he said.
The current account deficit has not only been fully and safely financed but $28.5 billion has also been added to the reserves, he said.
The CAD in 2012-13 was at 4.7 per cent of GDP and in 2013-14 it will only be 1.7 per cent, he said.
“So these are good signs...The economy going forward can only become stronger,” he said.