The government on Wednesday said it had initiated steps to bring back huge amounts of "black money" stacked in foreign banks, as part of its important programmes to be implemented within its first 100 days in office.
"In respect of unearthing the black money, the Prime Minister suggested that we initiate action within 100 days. Actions have been initiated in this regard," Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told the Rajya Sabha in New Delhi.
"Certain countries have their own banking rules. Switzerland is well known for it. But in the context of the financial crisis, now they have agreed to share information with us," Mukherjee said during the discussion on the general budget.
He said Switzerland had now agreed to share information, "provided there is a legal framework and it is required only for the purpose of tax collection."
Senior BJP leader L.K. Advani, who had promised to bring back the money if his party was voted to power, raised the issue in a big way during the general elections.
Finance Minister said the government had entered into agreements with various countries to avoid "double taxation", and existing laws would be amended to facilitate the exchange of information with over 100 countries.
"The legal framework for that is to avoid double taxation. Many countries want specific safeguards before they agree to exchange information,” he said.
"There was a case. To a particular question, I responded in this very House that we had difficulty. We had got certain information. But we got that information under the condition that we would not disclose that even to our sovereign Parliament,” the minister said.