A social movement is needed to combat the menace of blackmoney, experts today opined, while asserting that the concept of tax havens should be demystified to the masses so that they can exert pressure on politicians to take action. Former professor of economics at the JNU Arun Kumar said there have been movements to root out corruption in the past, but they could not prove sustainable. “When it comes to dealing with blackmoney in the country, there is this triad that needs to be broken. That triad is of corrupt politicians, corrupt businessmen and a corrupt administration. That needs to be broken. “And, that can only be broken through social movements, like the Gujarat Nav Nirman Movement or the JP Total Revolution or the Anna Hazare anti-graft crusade in the past attempted. And, once people start rising, the political system would have to take action,” said Kumar, also the author of ‘The Black Economy in India’.
He was speaking at a panel discussion after launch of a book — ‘Thin Dividing Line: India, Mauritius and Global Illicit Financial Flows’ authored by journalist and independent researcher Paranjoy Guha Thakurta and Shinzani Jain. Former additional solicitor general of India, Biswajit Bhattacharya, another panelist, concurred with Kumar’s views, while alleging that governments of different periods, cutting across party lines, have been “remarkably silent” over the issue of tax havens and blackmoney stashed abroad. “Political willpower is needed but unfortunately we haven’t seen that across different dispensations. But a social movement would exert pressure on the government to act against it,” he said.
Ranu Kayastha Bhogal, Director, Policy Research and Campaigns at Oxfam India, said, it was important that the concept of blackmoney and tax havens be made more understandable to the common man, so that masses can actually get involved. Thakurta also said that as an author the greatest challenge for him was to demystify the concept of blackmoney and tax havens to ordinary people. “Most of them hear these words on TV channels and come across in newspapers but the book also attempts to make these concepts more familiar to a lay person so that they become part of the crusade against blackmoney rather than the fight being confined to a mere esoteric group,” he said. The book has been published by Penguin Random House India.