New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday promised to get back every penny of the black money stashed abroad, days after his government was accused of making a U-turn on the issue.
He said the efforts to bring back black money stashed abroad are on the "right track" even as he acknowledged that there was no correct estimate about how much money is kept illegally in foreign countries.
In an address to the nation over radio, he said that bringing back black money from outside the country is an "article of faith" for him and nothing will be lacking in his efforts to do so.
The Prime Minister's commitment to bring back black money stashed abroad comes against the backdrop of the stand it first took in the Supreme Court last week about the inability to disclose the names of the account holders in foreign banks because of the confidentially clause in treaties with other countries.
It had maintained that disclosure of details of account holders would hamper efforts to bring back black money.
The government beat a hasty retreat after the Supreme Court ordered it to disclose the names of account holders in HSBC Geneva, which amounted to 627 in number. The government also came under attack from opposition parties that it was going back on its election promise to unearth and bring back black money stashed abroad.
Modi said there might be differences in approach on getting this money back but he was committed to doing it and the nation should have faith in him.
"As far as black money is concerned. You should have faith on this 'pradhan sevak'. For me, it is an article of faith. Every penny of the money of poor people in this country, which has gone out, should return. This is my commitment," Modi said in Mann ki Baat programme on All India Radio.
"There may be differences over the approach and procedures, which is natural in a democracy. But as far as my understanding goes and on the basis of information I have, I can say we are on the right track," he said.
On the actual estimate about amount in illegal bank accounts in foreign countries, the Prime Minister said, "Nobody knows, nor do I know, nor does the government know, nor do you know, how much money is stashed abroad. Even the previous government had no estimate.
"Everybody is making own assessment of figures. I do not want to get involved in those figures. It is my commitment that whatever amount, Rs 2, Rs 5, crore of rupees or whatever, this money belongs to the poor people of this country and should come back.
"And I can assure you that nothing will be lacking in my efforts. I only want your blessings to continue." He asserted that whatever has to be done, will be done at the earliest.
Here are the highlights of Modi's radio address:
- I got a letter (I used to get this even earlier when I was not PM) on issue of drugs. I am going to talk about it in my next programme
- I assure you that there will be no shortcomings in my effort to deal with the issue of black money
- From what I am understanding & the information I have, I am telling you that we are in the right direction
- Today I also want to salute the Jawans of the Nation who are protecting the nation. Spent time with them during Diwali
- I had shared my thoughts on issues relating to specially abled last time. Officers in HRD Ministry told me about their initiatives
- By cleaning the surroundings we are helping the poor the most. When the poor fall ill, it affects them a lot. We must serve the poor
- It is essential to change the mindset that everyone in our country is bad
- People are now are pledging to participate actively ‘Swachh Bharat campaign
- Government doing everything to clean the country
- I urged people to purchase Khadi last time. I was told that Khadi sales increased by almost 125 per cent
- Whoever is meeting me now, from all walks of life, they talk about doing something for society, serving society
- I am glad that people have decided that we will not let the nation become dirty
- Bharat from Satna MP wrote on MyGov about his experience in the Railways on cleanliness. He said it was very gladdening
- I am seeing that the young India is committed to do something and he or she is even doing something