Last year, $20 trillion disappeared into secret off-shore tax havens across the world — an amount that can save 3.6 million lives annually. A study conducted by the UK-based NGO, ONE, has found that corruption, tax evasion and corporate malpractices is leading to monetary losses of the scale that could wipe out poverty in a few years.
The study found that developing countries such as India are losing $1 trillion every year through “a web of corrupt activity that involves shady deals for natural resources.”
According to Global Financial Integrity, India lost an average of $34,393 million due to illegal financial flows between 2002 and 2011. India was in the top five countries losing money, behind China, Russia, Mexico and Malaysia.
The loss is pushing governments to cut down on funding critical programmes like health care, inhibiting private investment and reducing economic growth.
Estimates drawn up by ONE show that countries like India are contributing nearly $3.2 trillion of the money being held secretly in off-shore accounts.
Interestingly, bringing back black money has been on the agenda of the BJP and was repeatedly referred to during the party’s campaign before the Lok Sabha elections.
ONE is now asking G-20 countries, of which India is a member, to take steps that will prevent the siphoning-off this $20 trillion from the global economy. It wants governments to publicise information about shell companies that are created to funnel illegal deals.
It also recommended that governments should crack down on tax evasion and make the leasing of public resources transparent.