Black money war runs into an e-mail identity crisis

Black is not quite beautiful. Not even in an email ID, as the finance ministry has discovered.

business Updated: Jun 15, 2011 22:22 IST
Debobrat Ghose
Debobrat Ghose
Hindustan Times

Black is not quite beautiful. Not even in an email ID, as the finance ministry has discovered.

Ironic as it may seem, but the government’s quest to find an easily recognisable electronic mail identity in its efforts to get suggestions and feedback from the public at large in its recently declared war on tax evaders and black money ran into trouble because the very term attracts the software police in cyberspace.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) wanted to use the term “black money” so that people will find it easier to mail the government, but the National Informatics Centre (NIC) advised against such a move because spam filters used to keep e-mails safe frown on the term.

In the end, the government has had to settle for a simple, somewhat lacklustre ID.

“Finally a new email ID —( has just been created to receive feedback and suggestions from public and organizations,” a finance ministry official told Hindustan Times.

“But, had we been able to use the ‘black money’ word, the public could have connected easily with the email ID and it would have had a far-reaching effect,” the official added. The finance ministry had entrusted the NIC — a premier central government agency that provides information, communication and technology, and e-governance solutions — to create the new email ID for the CBDT, which had asked the agency to use the term ‘black money’ in the ID.

But NIC came down on that, with good reason. “Our email support team informed that the spam filters of most of the email service providers such as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail and Rediffmail considered the word ‘black money’ as spam and mails will get blocked,” a senior technical officer of NIC said. “Instead, we’ve used the acronym for black money in the new ID,” the officer said.

So, go ahead and mail your suggestions on black money to But mails will not get replies, and RTI queries will not be entertained.

First Published: Jun 15, 2011 22:19 IST