Government may soon launch Elephant Bonds as part of new amnesty scheme to the income tax defaulters in the country for declaring undisclosed income. This was suggested by high-level government-appointed committee on trade and industry headed by economist Dr. Surjit S. Bhalla. The recommendation of the advisory group regarding undisclosed income seems to be based on the fact that black money exists in domestic sector and it should be utilised in a productive manner.
What are the elephant bonds?
They are proposed sovereign bonds (debt instruments) to be issued for period of 25 years in which people declaring undisclosed income will be bound to invest 50 per cent, similar to an amnesty scheme. These funds will be utilised only for infrastructure projects, both new and old. Thus, these bonds will serve as specialised security product providing funds towards Long Term Infrastructure.
Significance of elephant bonds
Such bonds are necessary part of Central Government’s carrot and stick policy. This will allow past tax defaulters to join mainstream without attracting penalties. This will also provide conducive way to increase tax revenue along with increasing the number of taxpayers and beneficiaries in tax base who had not declared their assets previously. It will improve funding for long term infrastructure projects which are critical part in increasing economic growth.
Previous Amnesty schemes
These schemes were aimed at encouraging people to avoid prosecution and declare black money by paying penalty only.