India, Switzerland sign deal to access information on tax evasion

August 30th, 2010 - 11:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Pranab Mukherjee New Delhi, Aug 30 (IANS) India and Switzerland Monday signed a double taxation avoidance agreement, which will allow for the European country to share information on cases of tax evasion.
“A protocol amending the existing Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement was signed here today between Republic of India and Swiss Federal Council,” said a government press release.

The agreement was signed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and visiting Swiss federal Foreign Minister Michelin Calmy-Rey here.

“This will introduce new provisions concerning administrative assistance in accordance with OECD standards together with a comprehensive most-favoured-nation clause,” said a statement issued by the Swiss foreign ministry.

According to a senior MEA official, the agreement will allow India “to get information on tax evasion”.

Switzerland has revised its agreements on taxation with other countries, under pressure to bring more transparency to its banking system.

“It is on par with what Switzerland has signed with other countries,” said MEA joint secretary, central Europe, Banashree Bose Harrison.

She pointed out that the Swiss banking system, which accounts for 11 percent of the country’s GDP, “depends on integrity of information”.

The issue of secret bank accounts by Indian nationals have been a political issue, with the opposition parties claiming that thousands of crores rupees are stashed away in Swiss bank accounts.

The Swiss foreign minister’s visit also comes as a precursor to the 12th meeting of the India-Switzerland Joint Economic Council on Oct 1.

The visiting minister also announced that a new Swiss consulate will be opened in Bangalore.

The minister also met Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, with whom she will be working together on the new United Nations panel on global sustainability.

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