Black money – that unaccounted, illegally earned money, and on which tax is not paid – is perpetually in the news. CBI estimates that Indians have stashed some $500 billion in foreign banks; wikipedia cites a source which estimates it to be around $1.5 trillion.
For many years this issue of black money has been raised, but it has grown shriller thanks to Baba Ramdev. He is championing the movement to ‘bring back’ all the black money stashed in Swiss banks and elsewhere.
His plea is now endorsed by many political parties including allies of ruling UPA. BJP president even touched Baba’s feet (say, physical exercise, not fiscal). Saffron brigade.
This is hypocrisy at its best. It is also a ploy to divert attention of the people from some of domestic ‘safe havens’ of black money.
Bringing back black money, or exposing the owners of that money is a good thing to do, but why do we always neglect the source of the problem?
Politicians and businessmen – whose nexus is one of the major contributing factors for the problem is always swept under the carpet. This is done by forming new alliance to champion the very cause of which they themselves are perpetrators.
Illegally gained wealth is hidden in two safest places – one, in Swiss banks, and other, in religious ashrams, mutts, or in temples, homes of politicians, and also in some NGOs.
Baba Ramdev is selectively blind to the second source. I firmly believe that more money is hidden in these places within our country than anywhere else.
These mutts or ashrams are secretively managed, accountable to none, and are politically very powerful. The heads of these institutions patronize politicians based on caste and community. In return these politicians use these institutions to garner votes, and also to keep their money safe.
Many institutions have done tremendous charity work, but even then they must not be above law. There should be a law to monitor their activities(audit).
Baba Ramdev must also focus on this problem if he really cares about bringing black money back.
This ‘saffron money’ hidden in these institutions – if brought out and used judiciously, may help in addressing some pressing problems.
Ever wonder why so many politicians are showing their support to Ramdev?