Warning black money holders of stringent action including imprisonment after September 30, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said those with undisclosed wealth, most of which is parked in jewellery and real estate, should come clean to sleep peacefully.
At a function jewellers organised to felicitate him, Modi said he is aware of people going to bullion merchants with "cartload" of money and a message has to be delivered to them to come clean using the one-time compliance window closing on September 30.
Stating that people have been jailed in the past for evading taxes, he said the government should not be forced to resort to the same after September 30.
"Aur us paap ko karna nahi chahata hu jo September 30 ko mujhe karna padega (I do not want to commit the sin which I will have to do after September 30 against black money holders)," he said.
Under the Income Declaration Scheme (IDS) which opened on June 1, black money holders can come clean by declaring the assets by September 30 and paying tax and penalty of 45 per thereafter. Those who fail to take advantage of the scheme will have to face stringent actions, including imprisonment.
The Income Tax department has already identified 90 lakh high value transactions without PAN. As part of the scrutiny, the department will initially issue 7 lakh letters to those who have indulged in such transactions seeking their details.
Referring to the ambitious plan to mobilise idle gold lying with households and temples, the Prime Minister said that since jewellery is used only 2-5 times in a year by holders, it is better loaned to the government for boosting economy.
"Unfortunately gold is linked to social status in India. ...It remains locked as dead money... You can deposit it with the government and take it out when needed. This will boost the country's economy," Modi said.
As per an estimate, about 20,000 tonne of gold is lying with households and temples across the country. Referring to the excise duty levied on jewellery, which had led to widespread protest by jewellers, Modi said both sides entered into a dialogue to resolve the matter.
"I know where I have come. You people have forced governments to roll back decisions. (Following dialogues) it is good that exice duty also remained as well as issues were resolved. We have ended the atmosphere of fear (tax raids)," he said.
Modi said he has already ordered officials to consider citizens as partners in nation building and not to view taxpayers as evaders. He further said jewellery market all over the world is growing and handmade, manual jewellery is something that is becoming very popular.
"Look beyond the domestic market. Yes, it is big and lucrative, but look at the global market too," he said. He further said that for initiatives like 'Make In India' to succeed, innovation is very important and this happens when importance is given to skill development.
Modi also rejected the demand of the industry for a separate ministry of gems and jewellery, saying the Prime Minister himself is for the development of the sector.
Recalling recent issues related to excise duty, the Prime Minister said they gave an opportunity for the Gems and Jewellery industry to better understand the working of the government, and vice versa. He said both have won over each other....