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Black Money: Indians Declare $9.5 Billion in income that was never Taxed or Reported

64,275 Indians who declared so-called black money during the four-month period that ended Friday would pay 45 percent in taxes to the state but avoid criminal prosecution

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People wait in front of an income tax billboard at a bus stop in New Delhi, India, Sept. 26, 2016. VOA

October 2, 2016: Tens of thousands of Indians have come forward over the past four months to declare a collective $9.5 billion in income that was never reported or taxed, India’s finance minister Arun Jaitley announced Saturday.

Jaitley said that number could increase because some declarations are still being processed.

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Under a government plan announced by Jaitley earlier this year, the 64,275 Indians who declared so-called black money during the four-month period that ended Friday would pay 45 percent in taxes to the state but avoid criminal prosecution.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who vowed to curb tax avoidance when he was elected in 2014, congratulated both Jaitley and those who chose to declare their black money Saturday.

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“I compliment all those who chose to be tax compliant in IDS-2016. This is a great contribution towards transparency & growth of the economy,” he tweeted from his official account.

This is not the first time the government of India has instituted such a tax amnesty program — Jaitley said a program in 1997 brought in $1.5 billion to the government.

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The government faced opposition to the action since the release of the so-called Panama Papers in April, which listed individuals and companies that had avoided taxes by setting up shell companies in Panama. About 500 Indians were among those accused. (VOA)

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PM Modi Receives A Letter From Pamela Anderson To Promote Vegan Food

Anderson in her letter praised India's cuisine that made it the 'easiest place on earth' to be vegan.

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Anderson is a vegan, an advocate for animal rights, and an active member of the animal protection organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

Baywatch icon and former Bigg Boss guest star Pamela Anderson on Friday wrote a letter on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to serve only vegan food at all government meetings and functions.

In this letter, she urges Modi to lead India’s fight against climate change by serving only delicious vegan (wholly plant-derived) food at all government meetings and functions. The animal rights group and the actor explained that raising animals for meat, eggs, and dairy causes nearly one-fifth of all human-induced greenhouse-gas emissions.

“With your country’s innovation and agricultural history, I’m sure that India-produced soy and other versatile foods can easily replace these damaging foods,” she writes. PETA Director urged Modi to adopt pro-vegan steps taken by other countries such as New Zealand, China and Germany.

“I appeal to you to show that India can equal or best them,” the 52-year-old actor added.

Modi  getting down from Air India Airplane.
Narendra Modi getting down from Air India Airplane.

Expressing concern over climate change she wrote, “My heart goes out to everyone affected by the severe air pollution plaguing Delhi. I worry about the residents as well as the animals who can’t wear face masks or stay indoors.”

She said that according to latest reports, 36 million Indians could face the threat of annual coastal flooding by 2050. The World Bank has predicted that at least 21 cities in India are approaching zero groundwater levels for next year and that 40 per cent of Indians may not have water to drink by 2030.

ALSO READ: Foodies Must Try These Dishes from the Streets of Kolkata

Anderson in her letter praised India’s cuisine that made it the ‘easiest place on earth’ to be vegan. “India is the easiest place to be vegan… I still remember the beautiful colour of saffron rice and the alluring aroma of veggie biryani. India’s foods are so fantastic and varied that it’s the easiest place on earth to be vegan”, she added.

Last month, she had written to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking him to serve nutritious vegan meals in correctional facilities. (IANS)