Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterates India’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy against corruption at G20 Anti-Corruption Ministerial Meet

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday addressed the G20 Anti-Corruption Ministerial Meet in Kolkata where he restated India's strict policy of zero tolerance against corruption.

PM Narendra Modi addresses G20 Anti-Corruption Ministerial Meet held in Kolkata via video message on August 12, 2023. Photo Courtesy: PIB

“India has a strict policy of zero tolerance against corruption,” the Prime Minister remarked as he underlined that India is leveraging technology and e-governance to create a transparent and accountable ecosystem.

Addressing the event via video conference, he mentioned that leakages and gaps in welfare schemes and government projects are being plugged in.

As a result, hundreds of million people in India have received direct benefit transfers into their bank accounts amounting to more than 360 billion USD and helping save over 33 billion USD, he stated.

The Prime Minister informed that the government has simplified various procedures for businesses and gave the example of automation and digitization of government services that have eliminated rent-seeking opportunities.

“Our government e-Marketplace, or GeM portal, has brought greater transparency in government procurement,” he added.

Government aggressively pursuing economic offenders: Modi

Speaking about the enactment of the Economic Offenders Act in 2018, the Prime Minister said that the government is aggressively pursuing economic offenders and informed about the recovery of assets worth over 1.8 billion USD from economic offenders and fugitives.

He also mentioned the Prevention of Money Laundering Act which has helped attach the assets of offenders worth more than 12 billion USD since 2014.

The Prime Minister recalled speaking on the challenges of fugitive economic offenders for all G20 countries and the Global South in his very first G-20 Summit in 2014.

He also mentioned presenting a nine-point agenda for action against Fugitive Economic Offenders and Asset Recovery at the G-20 Summit in 2018 and expressed happiness that decisive steps are being taken by the working group.

The Prime Minister welcomed the action-oriented High-Level Principles on three priority areas, namely, law enforcement cooperation through information sharing, strengthening asset recovery mechanisms, and enhancing the integrity and effectiveness of anti-corruption authorities.

He expressed delight that an understanding has been reached on informal cooperation between law enforcement agencies which will prevent criminals from exploiting legal loopholes when crossing borders.

Highlighting the importance of timely asset tracing and identification of proceeds of crime, the Prime Minister stressed the need to encourage countries to enhance their domestic asset recovery mechanisms.

Modi suggested that G20 countries can set an example by using non-conviction-based confiscations to expedite the recovery of foreign assets and said that it will ensure swift return and extradition of criminals after the due judicial process.

“It will send a strong signal about our joint fight against corruption,” he emphasized.