India-Switzerland Current Affairs - 2019
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India has signed agreement with Switzerland for automatic sharing of tax-related information from January 1, 2018 with an aim to combat black money.
Prior to it, India had to ask Switzerland for specific bits of information against the Indian account holder in Swiss banks. But due to its earlier secretive laws it could delay or deny information altogether.
Switzerland always has been at centre of debate on black money allegedly stashed by Indians abroad. It is infamously known for very strong secrecy walls around its banking practices till few years ago. In recent past, huge global pressure has resulted in Switzerland relenting on tough secrecy clauses its local laws gave to banks.
The signing of agreement comes after completion of parliamentary procedure in Switzerland for changing domestic secretive banking laws and signing of mutual agreement between India and Switzerland. Both countries in November 2017 had signed a joint declaration for the implementation of Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI). It provided that both countries will start collecting data in accordance with global standards in 2018 and exchange it from 2019 onwards. The AEOI conforms to norm set by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for tax transparency.
Under the automatic information exchange framework, confidentiality and data protection requirements is to be strictly followed. This process will ensure that signatory always maintains control over its exchange partners and treatment of data exchanged as per OECD norms. The automatic exchange of information will discourage Indians from stashing black money in Swiss banks.
The Union Cabinet has approved Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Ministry of Railways, and Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications of Swiss Confederation on Technical Cooperation in Rail Sector. The MoU was signed in August, 2017.
The MoU will enable technical cooperation in areas such as traction rolling stock, Traction Propulsion Equipments, Freight and Passenger Cars, EMU and train sets, Railway Electrification Equipments , Train scheduling and operation improvement, Tilting Trains, Railway Station modernization, Multimodal transport and Tunneling technology.
The Union Ministry of Railways has signed various MoUs for technical cooperation in ail sector with various foreign Governments and National Railways in areas such as high-speed corridors, raising speed of existing routes, heavy haul operations, development of world-class stations and modernization of rail infrastructure etc.
The cooperation under these MoUs is achieved mainly through exchange of information on developments in areas of railways technology and operations, knowledge sharing, technical visits, training & seminars and workshops in areas of mutual interest.
These MoUs provide global platform for Indian Railways to interact and share latest developments and knowledge in railway sector. They also facilitate exchange of technical experts, technical documents and reports, training and seminars focusing on specific technology areas and other interactions for knowledge sharing.