The Centre is taking stringent measures to unearth “ill-gotten wealth”, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu today said, dismissing opposition criticism that the NDA government has not succeeded in bringing back black money stashed abroad as promised in the run up to the 2014 Lok Sabha election.
The Parliamentary Affairs Minister claimed that international treaties entered into during the Congress regime are coming in the way of bringing back black money as they have clauses on secrecy.
“See the steps we have taken. Treaties that were entered into during the Congress regime have come in the way of getting back black money. International treaties...they have secret clause.... They were agreed upon during their (Congress) regime. We are working on that now,” Naidu told PTI here in an interview.
“Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) took up the issue in G-20 (summit) itself and then secondly, stringent laws have been made. There was criticism that the law is very harsh on black money,” he said.
Alleging that the Congress-led government did not act in time when black money was being stashed abroad, Naidu said “smart people, who have siphoned off money, have moved the ill-gotten wealth abroad”.
“Black money (is accumulated) both internally and externally.... Black money is generated because of corruption in the system. See the transparency we brought in with regard to coal and spectrum allocation. More than 3.10 lakh crores (rupees) have been saved for exchequer.
“And now, mines and minerals are also being auctioned in a transparent manner. Every step is being taken. We will pursue all those cases vigorously,” the senior BJP leader said.
“Had the Congress party taken action during earlier years when black money was being stashed and we were campaigning against it? (L K) Advaniji himself had taken it up as a issue. They (Congress) did not act,” he said.
“Meanwhile, those who are smart and who have siphoned off money, they transferred it to other countries,” Naidu said, adding that “it is not so easy (to retrieve black money). It is not just that you go by aircraft, lay your hand and bring back the money. But, we are committed to that. We are doing our best.”
“That (criticism) is wrong. The point is, you are forgetting the fact that projects have been sanctioned and implementation started. To complete (them), it takes time. Manufacturing units are being revived. Ease of doing business and ease of approvals (have improved), foreign direct investment is increasing. That itself is creating jobs. Gone are the days when the government alone will provide jobs.
“Now, jobs are being created in the private sector. Because, the government also now, focusing on PPP model. That’s why Congress’ criticism is totally unsubstantiated and when we compare with UPA regime, we are better in every aspect,” he said.
The NDA government is not celebrating the completion of its two years in office but is only submitting its report card to the people, the Union Urban Development Minister asserted.