New Delhi, January 24: In a yet another diversion from its initially prescribed role of a think tank as set by PM Narendra Modi Ayog is now reportedly scanning irregularities in the post-demonetisation deposits in Jan Dhan accounts.
It is not the income tax department, but a team of Big Data experts at the Niti Aayog which is administered to check out the post-demonetisation frauds.
Scrapping Planning Commission, PM Narendra Modi introduced Niti Ayog on January 1, 2015 to foster involvement and participation in the economic policy-making process by the State Governments of India.
According to a senior government official, as per the success of this exercise, the team may also be asked to scrutinise all bank accounts for unusual transactions after demonetisation.
But Niti Aayog is a think tank, not a law enforcement agency says ET as its opinion. It further says: That job of enforcement is best left to the income-tax department that is empowered under law to probe tax evasion. There is no reason why the tax department cannot hire data analytics firms to mine information. Interference, if any, in law enforcement functions will become messy and lead to needless harassment of taxpayers.
As per the report data analytics expert Pulak Ghosh is leading the team at the Aayog. Ghosh teaches at Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore and advises a UN Big Data project. The data analytic cell is being headed by Avik Sarkar who is an officer on special duty to Aayog’s vice chairman Arvind Panagariya.
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The government official further revealed that the analytic cell of the Niti Aayog has access to transaction networks of all banks so as to analyse the data and look for deposits and withdrawals which were aimed at laundering black money.
Post noteban, a huge surge in deposits of Jan Dhan accounts was reported despite a deposit limit of Rs 50,000.
Following the news about the misuse of Jan Dhan accounts for money laundering after the demonetisation, RBI had restricted withdrawals from such accounts to Rs 10,000 a month. By the end of December, the amount in these accounts was Rs 71,036 crore and for scrutinising this humongous task Ghosh’s team has been set up at Niti Aayog.