NDA govt: Modi govt’s 3rd anniversary: Zero tolerance on corruption

This is a government that has zero tolerance on corruption, which doesn’t hesitate to mount a surgical strike on Pakistan and also one that is pro-poor in its approach, with a focus on the ‘gaon, garib aur kisaan’ (village, poor and the farmer) — this is expected to be the message in the Narendra Modi government’s three-year anniversary document, to be unveiled next week.

There is not a single taint of corruption on this government —“totally different from the UPA tenure riddled with scams. This will be the dominant message”, a senior government official privy to the details said, speaking to ET on the condition of anonymity.

The document will detail the steps the government has taken to tackle corruption, officials with knowledge of the matter said. The most prominent among these is demonetisation, which has “strengthened the hands of the common citizen and the government in the fight against corruption, terror funding, Naxalism, human trafficking, black money and counterfeit notes”, one of them said.

Direct benefit transfer — where the subsidy amount is transferred directly to the beneficiary’s bank account — has plugged leakages in welfare programmes and helped the government save Rs. 50,000 crore. So, this would also be mentioned as a significant anti-corruption measure. The government may also say that it started the cleaning up of political funding by putting a Rs. 2,000 cap on cash donations to parties.

The fight against black money will find a prominent mention. This will include blocking the Mauritius, Singapore and Cyprus channels used for re-routing of black money. Another is the agreement on real-time transaction data with Switzerland, which will make Swiss banks to share information related to transactions involving Indians from September 2019. This is expected to reduce the room for money laundering.

The Mauritius route accounted for 35% of black money laundered and a bilateral treaty signed with that country last May will reduce the scope for this, the government is likely to say. The Third Protocol signed with Singapore, which will give India the right from April 1, 2017, to tax capital gains arising on Indian equity shares sold by a Singapore resident, may also be cited as a measure that will check the menace of black money and prevent double non-taxation. The government may highlight steps it has taken to investigate cases involving black money stashed abroad and initiate prosecution against those involved.

The document is expected to highlight the benaami transaction law, implemented by the Modi government, as a key measure to block holding of black money in the form of real estate. The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code will also be described as an anti-corruption measure and one of the biggest economic reforms next to goods and services tax.

Another measure to find a mention is the allocation of 82 coal blocks through a transparent auction that has generated an income of Rs. 5 lakh crore, as well as spectrum auctions. Also featuring among the government’s achievement could be ‘Project Insight’, an IT project conceived by the income tax department to effectively utilise vast information at its disposal to track tax evaders more effectively.