News In Numbers | Rs3,770 crore of black money surface in govt’s drive

It is an indicator of how well the govt's strategy to bring back black money stashed abroad is doing

3,770 crore

What is it? The amount of undeclared foreign assets disclosed by 638 individuals in the latest amnesty scheme.

Why is it important? It is an indicator of how well the government’s strategy to bring back black money stashed abroad is doing. On the one hand, the government has netted 2,262 crore by way of tax. On the other, the amount disclosed represents a small fraction of $440 billion illicit fund outflows between 2003 and 2012, as per an estimate by Washington-based think tank, Global Financial Integrity.

Tell me more: The tepid response sharply contrast the success of a similar scheme launched 18 years ago by former finance minister P. Chidambaram. At that time, the government mobilised 10,000 crore in taxes alone. The contrast being tax evaders were not required to pay interest or penalties on taxes not paid. The scheme this year reduced the rate of penalty from 120% to 60%, and no jail term.

$187,882

What is it? The penalty the audit firm Grant Thornton India was ordered to pay to the US markets regulator Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for not following auditor independence.

Why is it important? It raises the question: can we trust audited numbers? Auditors are required to maintain independence from the entities they are auditing, and regulators have put restrictions on taking up non-audit work like consulting. In this case, two partners of Grant Thornton India were alleged to have taken up board positions in an overseas subsidiary of a company they were auditing.

Tell me more: In 2001, SEC charged five India-based affiliates of PricewaterhouseCoopers of audit failures in Satyam Computers, whose founder admitted of inflating revenue and profits. At that time, PW India affiliates paid a penalty of $6 million.

112

What is it? The single emergency number that will come to use soon.

Why it important? Makes emergency calls simple. It replaces all existing emergency numbers like 100, 101, 102 and 108. The idea behind a single emergency number was floated by the telecom regulator earlier this year so that all emergency calls can be coordinated and tracked better. Calls to this number would be tollfree and will be allowed even if outgoing calls are barred.

Tell me more: The European Union too have the same emergency number 112. In the US, over 240 million calls are made to 911 each year.

38,800 crore

What is it? The amount by which losses due to subsidies would come down for state-run oil companies.

Why is it important? Money saved will help the government meet its budget deficit targets and spend more on productive purposes like creating infrastructure or towards social welfare.

Tell me more: This year, the loss is estimated at 33,500 crore as compared to 72,300 crore last fiscal. Low crude oil prices (down 32% from last year), elimination of subsidies in the sale of diesel and petrol, and successful implementation of direct cash transfer scheme for domestic gas contributed to this drastic reduction.

> 50%

What is it? The contribution of tier II and III cities to Amazon India’s sales and traffic.

Why is it important? The number indicates the widespread reach and acceptance of e-commerce in India beyond the metros. Tier II cities have population between 1 million and 4 million, while tier III have less than 1 million. There are 53 cities with a million-plus population in India as per Census 2011 data.

Tell me more: Between 2010 and 2014, India’s ecommerce market tripled to $13.6 billion in 2014, and is expected to reach $16 billion in 2015.

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