FM during budget

  1. What is a finance bill?
  2. A bill is a proposal by the government before the parliament and the proposal for levy of new taxes or modification of the existing tax structure are submitted to Parliament through this finance bill (money bill).
  3. Money bills can only be introduced and voted upon in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha can only recommend amendments in the Bill. It can not vote over it and therefore the governments not commanding majority in the Rajya sabha try to brand ordinary bill as a money bill.
  4. The passing of the Finance Bill 2017-18 has sparked a major controversy as it included 40 amendments which the opposition says could not be part of a money bill since they are not money matters.
  5. What are the controversial amendments?
  6. The Finance Bill 2017 gives the central government power over the appointments, tenure, removal, and reappointment of chairpersons and members of several tribunals. This is obviously not a money matter and is akin to taking power away from the Parliament.
  7. The Bill allows anonymous donations by companies to political parties through electoral bonds. It is believed that anonymity would protect a company from reprisal by rival parties. The Bill also removes the 7.5% limit on donations. It means that quantum of donations can be very high and the corporates can be coerced to fund the parties.
  8. The Bill makes Aadhaar mandatory for getting a PAN card and filing the income-tax return. This is OK as supreme court has also agreed that Aadhar may be made compulsory in non welfare types of services.
  9. The Bill gives the income-tax officials the power to raid anyone without citing any reasons. Now this is ‘tax terrorism’!
  10. Other amendments include bringing down the limit of cash transaction from 3 lakhs to 2 lakhs. This may also be accepted as the boost to digital transaction would have beneficial multiplier effects on the economy and polity of the country.
  11. The Oppositions who is already demotivated by spectacular win of BJP in UP feels being further robbed of it’s Rajya sabha power to stall the bills.
  12. The move may be a legislative necessity but is detrimental to parliamentary democracy. The back door entry techniques push the upper house, the house of elders to a back seat undermines it’s existence and the purpose of constitution makers is defeated.