Indian in US? Your Account is Now Under Delhi Surveillance
Thousands of Indian citizens in the US – from IT workers, health professionals, students and everyone else under the sun – will soon be innocent victims to snooping by the Indian government. If an Indian citizen holds a bank account in the US, minute details about his/her bank account will be shared with New Delhi by Washington.
The Modi government will be getting personal details, including the amount of interest credited in the account, dividend payments and other income paid or credited in these accounts. This would also mean access to identity, address, bank account number and Tax Identification Number (TIN) of thousands of Indians living, working and studying in the US.
Bizarrely enough, the Americans will be getting more than their pound of flesh from India for revealing personal bank information about Indians in the US. Although India gets access only to bank account information of Indian citizens, the US can get access to even information of 'non-US entities' operating in India if it has even one American working for them. That means information about any Indian corporation or organisation would be provided to Washington on request, if it has an American on rolls.
The trigger for this unprecedented snooping on Indians in America seems to have been the enactment of the Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) by the Obama administration in 2010. This tax law, dubbed pernicious in sections of the American press, sought to gather minute banking information about American professionals and non-US firms that employed them across the globe through imposition of punitive measures on banks of other countries functioning on American soil.
Editor’s Note: Anyone who has been following FATCA should not be surprised by this development. If you are new to FATCA, start here.