Black Money

Indians have ‘relatively few’ deposits in Swiss banks, says bankers’ association

Switzerland had on Friday ratified automatic exchange of financial information with India and 40 other jurisdictions.

A group of private bankers from Switzerland has said that Indians hold “relatively few” deposits in Swiss banks when compared with countries like Singapore and Hong Kong, PTI reported on Sunday. Money held by Indians in Swiss banks declined to a record low of 1.2 billion franc (about Rs 80 billion) at the end of 2015.

Switzerland had on Friday ratified the automatic exchange of financial information with India and 40 other jurisdictions. In this regard, the Geneva-based Association of Swiss Private Banks had said there was no particular concern about India, as “the rule of law seems to be properly upheld there”.

The association’s manager Jan Langlo said that it was simply more “practical” for Indians to open accounts in an Asian financial hub rather than in Switzerland.

According to data from the Swiss National Bank, funds held by Indians with banks in Switzerland fell to 1.217 billion franc at the end of 2015. It was the highest in 2005-06, when Indians held Rs 6.5 billion franc (Rs 430 billion) in Swiss banks. The quantum of money held by Indians has been falling since then, except for jumps in 2011 and 2013.

After Switzerland ratified the Automatic Exchange of Information on Friday, India will be able to access transactions by Indians with Swiss banks after September 2019. India and Switzerland had earlier held talks for introduction of the AEOI on tax matters under the guidance of the G20 countries, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and other world bodies. However, details of Swiss bank accounts held before 2018 will not be made available to India.

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Advice from an ex-robber on how to keep your home safe

Tips on a more hands-on approach of keeping your house secure.

Home, a space that is entirely ours, holds together our entire world. Where our children grow-up, parents grow old and we collect a lifetime of memories, home is a feeling as much as it’s a place. So, what do you do when your home is eyed by miscreants who prowl the neighbourhood night and day, plotting to break in? Here are a few pre-emptive measures you can take to make your home safe from burglars:

1. Get inside the mind of a burglar

Before I break the lock of a home, first I bolt the doors of the neighbouring homes. So that, even if someone hears some noise, they can’t come to help.

— Som Pashar, committed nearly 100 robberies.

Burglars study the neighbourhood to keep a check on the ins and outs of residents and target homes that can be easily accessed. Understanding how the mind of a burglar works might give insights that can be used to ward off such danger. For instance, burglars judge a house by its front doors. A house with a sturdy door, secured by an alarm system or an intimidating lock, doesn’t end up on the burglar’s target list. Upgrade the locks on your doors to the latest technology to leave a strong impression.

Here are the videos of 3 reformed robbers talking about their modus operandi and what discouraged them from robbing a house, to give you some ideas on reinforcing your home.

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2. Survey your house from inside out to scout out weaknesses

Whether it’s a dodgy back door, a misaligned window in your parent’s room or the easily accessible balcony of your kid’s room, identify signs of weakness in your home and fix them. Any sign of neglect can give burglars the idea that the house can be easily robbed because of lax internal security.

3. Think like Kevin McCallister from Home Alone

You don’t need to plant intricate booby traps like the ones in the Home Alone movies, but try to stay one step ahead of thieves. Keep your car keys on your bed-stand in the night so that you can activate the car alarm in case of unwanted visitors. When out on a vacation, convince the burglars that the house is not empty by using smart light bulbs that can be remotely controlled and switched on at night. Make sure that your newspapers don’t pile up in front of the main-door (a clear indication that the house is empty).

4. Protect your home from the outside

Collaborate with your neighbours to increase the lighting around your house and on the street – a well-lit neighbourhood makes it difficult for burglars to get-away, deterring them from targeting the area. Make sure that the police verification of your hired help is done and that he/she is trustworthy.

While many of us take home security for granted, it’s important to be proactive to eliminate even the slight chance of a robbery. As the above videos show, robbers come up with ingenious ways to break in to homes. So, take their advice and invest in a good set of locks to protect your doors. Godrej Locks offer a range of innovative locks that are un-pickable and un-duplicable. To secure your house, see here.

The article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Godrej Locks and not by the Scroll editorial team.