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Government constitutes inter-departmental task force to crack down on benami firms

The Union Government has constituted inter-departmental task force comprising members of various regulatory Ministries and enforcement agencies to crack down on benami firms.

It is first major post-demonetisation move undertaken by Government for unearthing black money from shell companies used for large-scale money laundering and tax evasion.

Key Facts
  • The task force will be headed by Revenue Secretary and Corporate Affairs Secretary to monitor the actions taken by various agencies.
  • The involved agencies will invoke the stringent Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016 against the shell companies and freeze their accounts and strike off the names of dormant companies.
  • It will also initiate disciplinary action against professionals abetting the companies and entry operators, who are used to launder unaccounted-for incomes into the banking system for projecting them as white money. 
Background

There are about 15 lakh registered companies in India, but only 6 lakh of them file their annual returns. It has raised suspicion that a large number of these companies are indulging in financial irregularities. During a small sample analysis of such companies conducted by Government has found that Rs.1,238 crore in cash was deposited in these entities during the November-December 2016 period, after demonetisation. It also has been found that 560 beneficiaries have laundered money to the extent of Rs. 3,900 crore with the help of 54 professionals, who have been identified by the Government.

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Government Constitutes Task Force to prepare Action Plan for Next three Olympic Games

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the constitution of eight members Task Force committee for preparing action plan for next three Olympic Games 2020, 2024 and 2028.

It has been given three months’ time to submit its report regarding a comprehensive action plan including short, medium and long-term measures for effective participation of Indian sports-persons in the Olympic games.

 The members of Task force: Pulella Gopichand, Abhinav Bindra, Rajesh Kalra, Om Pathak, Viren Rasquinha, S. Baldev Singh, Prof. G.L. Khanna and Sandeep Pradhan.

Terms of Reference of Task Force
  • Suggest a comprehensive action plan for effective participation of Indian sportspersons in the next three Olympic Games.
  • Suggest effective methods to identify core probable medal prospects for 2020 Olympics, their coaches and support staff.
  • Suggest effective talent identification system for 2024 and 2028 Olympics. Identify components of world class support system for elite sportspersons and lay down further the pathway.
  • Suggest ways to achieve synergy in the efforts of key stakeholders within Union Government and across State Governments, Indian Olympic Association (IOA), National Sports Federations, NGOs, etc.
  • Suggest ways to significantly improve the standards of coaching and sports scientist within the country and to create and upgrade sports infrastructure required to train top-level athletes.
  • Make suggestion regarding foreign training and exposure of top-level athletes and also make recommendations on any other matters referred to it.

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