The Union finance ministry has refused to make public the order for commissioning a study to find out the quantum of black money floating in the economy, saying it would be a breach of parliamentary privileges.
Admitting that it does not have any "exact estimate" of black money which is in circulation inside the country or abroad, the ministry said it had commissioned a study to estimate the quantum of unaccounted income/wealth inside and outside the country and its ramifications on national security.
This was done on the basis of recommendations of Parliament's standing committee on finance.
Responding to an RTI application seeking the order through which the study was commissioned, the ministry said, "Details cannot be made available at this point of time as the information is exempt under section 8(1)(c) and Section 8(1)(e) of the RTI Act, 2005 since the report is yet to be submitted to the government or action taken thereof to Parliament."
Section 8(1)(c) allows withholding of information, the disclosure of which would cause a breach of privilege of Parliament or the state legislature while Section 8(1)(c) exempts information which is held in fiduciary capacity.
In response to Lucknow-based RTI activist Urvashi Sharma's query, the ministry said three institutes - National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP), National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) and National Institute of Finance Management (NIFM) - will separately conduct the study.
The ministry said the study is expected to be completed by the end of April.