Representational image | Dhiraj Singh| Bloomberg
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New Delhi: The amount of black money outside India was Rs 9.41 lakh crore or US $216.48 billion between 1990 and 2008, a government-commissioned study has concluded, adding that this amount could be one-tenth of the total estimated illegal wealth.

“Illicit outflows from the country are estimated on average to 10% of the estimated unaccounted income,” said the study by National Institute of Financial Management (NIFM), one of three institutes that was tasked with calculating estimated black money inside and outside the country by the UPA government.

The amount was calculated by NIFM at “current value” in August 2014, when the institute submitted its study to the NDA government.

The second institute tasked with calculating the estimated amount of black money threw up different numbers.

According to a study by the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), wealth accumulated outside India was estimated between US $384 billion and US $490 billion in the years 1980 to 2010. This report was submitted to the government in July 2014.

“Taking the capital outflow worth (stock) US $498 billion, its share in total unaccounted wealth can be estimated as 2.8%,” NCAER report was learnt to have concluded.

The third study, conducted by the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP), said illicit financial flows out of the country during the period 1997-2009 was in the range of 0.2 per cent to 7.4 per cent of the GDP. This report was submitted in December 2013.

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The NIPFP did not give estimates of unaccounted wealth in India.

Also read: Suspense over amount of black money held by Indians could be over soon

‘Wide variation’

In a report in 2009, the standing committee on finance had observed that the ministry should conduct a thorough assessment or survey of unaccounted income.

In October 2010, the then finance minister accorded approval for these studies to be conducted by the above-mentioned institutes. Their terms of reference included, among others, an assessment or survey of unaccounted income and wealth both inside and outside the country.

They submitted the reports to the government between December 2013 and August 2014, but these reports were never made public. They were shared with the finance committee chairman Veerappa Moily in 2017, who was allegedly “restrained” from sharing it with committee members.

These studies on the estimated amount of black money were forwarded to the chief economic advisor who observed that there were “large variations in numbers” (percentage of unaccounted income with respect to the GDP).

He, therefore, said that there was no scope of arriving at a common estimate of unaccounted income by combining estimates from the three reports.

Also read: Two years after demonetisation, purchases without receipts continue to stoke black money

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3 Comments Share Your Views


  1. If Vinod Rai was asked to estimate the amount it would have been no less than one lakh trillion. I don’t understand why one should be miserly with zeroes?

  2. Tilting at windmills. All this obsession with black money has got us is Demonetisation. At a conservative estimate, the total clandestine wealth held abroad by Indian citizens would be at least $ 2 trillion, say one year’s GDP. The only way it can be retrieved by the nation – the more dismissive would call it round tripping – is to create conditions where it can be attracted back through superior returns on the stock market and other investment opportunities. From a pragmatic perspective, the least desirable approach is to make this the fodder of an election campaign. After a time, voters will yawn.


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