Indian PM: Almost $15 bn in black money recovered without 'surgical strikes'

Modi said the government had brought back Rs 65,000 crore in black money into mainstream with payment of taxes and penalties. Photograph:( Getty )

WION Vadodara, Gujarat, India Oct 23, 2016, 02.56 AM (IST)

Referring to the recently conducted "surgical strikes" against militants, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday suggested using a similar strategy to tackle the problem of black money, plaguing the Indian economy. 

Praising the government's efforts to fight corruption and reduce tax evasion, Modi said they brought back 9.7 billion Dollars (65,000 crore Rupees) in black money into mainstream with payment of taxes and penalties. 

Using the analogy of "surgical strikes", the Prime Minister said applying such a method in the area could unearth "unimaginable gains". 

Modi said he had put up a sustained fight against black money since he took charge. But he hinted at tougher action against those who failed to declare their unaccounted money by the September 30 deadline under the Income Declaration Scheme (IDS). 

Speaking at an event in the western state of Gujarat, he said their efforts to eliminate middlemen and directly transfer funds to beneficiaries under the Jan Dhan Yojana had saved 5.3 billion Dollars (36,000 crore Rupees). 

"Against corruption, without much publicity I have put up a sustained fight. Government's assistance (now) goes directly in the bank accounts of beneficiaries, cutting out middlemen. Just by ensuring that right person gets the benefit and wrong person cannot take it, we have saved 5.3 billion Dollars (36,000 crore Rupees), which used to leak in the form of (subsidies for) gas cylinders, scholarship, pension," Modi said. "So, we have been able to collect roughly 15 billion Dollars (1,00,000 crore Rupees)," Modi added.

Distributing "assistive devices" to over 8,000 "Divyangs" (disabled persons), Modi also criticised past governments for being insensitive to their plight, saying they had not done enough for the disabled. 

"Knowingly or unknowingly, this country has remained insensitive towards the Divyangs. The government buildings had facilities for healthy persons only. We launched Sugamya Bharat mission, so that government buildings, hospitals, platforms are built in such a way that they have access facility for the Divyangs," the Prime Minister said. 

(WION with inputs from agencies)