The decision of G-20 finance ministers to affirm India's concerns on sharing of banking and tax-related information is an "important achievement", finance minister Pranab Mukherjee today said, expressing hope the issue will be taken up at the Cannes Summit next month.
"From India's point of view, this is one important achievement that it (paragraph relating to exchange of information) has found a place in the communiqué," he told reporters during a stopover here on his way back from Paris to New Delhi. Mukherjee was in the French capital to attend the two-day meeting of G-20 finance ministers and Central Bank Governors. Although Mukherjee was happy with the inclusion of India's concerns over black money in the communiqué, he appeared dissatisfied over the decision of the G-20 ministers to defer discussions and a decision on important issues like volatile commodity prices, the currency war, developmental problems and a financial transaction tax (also called Tobin tax) to Mexico ministerial meetings.
Mexico will take over the chair of the G-20 in 2012. The issue of black money has been haunting the UPA government in India for some time now, with the Opposition and civil society accusing it of not doing enough to bring back illegal funds stashed abroad.
With regard to the exchange of information, the communiqué, which was issued after two days of hectic deliberations, Mukherjee said, stressed on the need for comprehensive exchange of information in respect of banking and taxation.
"Our efforts will be to strengthen it (sharing of information) further and to recommend it to the leaders so that there is strong articulation of the issue... (in order) to get banking information and tax information spontaneously," Mukherjee said.
The leaders of the G-20, which is a club of rich and developing countries, will be meeting at Cannes, in France, on November 3 and 4. They are expected to come out with concrete steps to deal with global financial and economic problems, besides articulating views on other issues concerning the world.
Mukherjee attributed the G-20's decision to take on board India's concern over black money to his persuasive deliberations with his counterparts from important member countries like the US, France and Australia. "On this issue (of exchange of information), I had a very positive response from US Treasury Secretary (Timothy Geithner), French Finance Minister (Francois Baroin) and Australian Finance Minister (Wayne Swan)," he added. Mukherjee further said that during his opening remarks at the ministerial meeting, he had suggested that a beginning on sharing of banking taxation information should be made by G-20 member countries on a voluntary basis.
"They (G-20 nations) should voluntarily share information... the flow of information should be uninterrupted without any hindrance, including banking information... The established standards could be followed by others," the minister said. The G-20 member nations account for 85 per cent of global output and two-thirds of the world's population.