New Delhi, November 29: The passage of the Taxation Laws (2nd Amendment) Bill, 2016 in the Lok Sabha today, seems to have hit a raw nerve among the opposition. The bill was passed by a majority voice vote in the lower house amid shouts of protest by the opposition. Declaring the passage as unfair and unparliamentary, opposition parties have decided to approach President Pranab Mukherjee who can alone put a block on the implementation of the bill.
A bill becomes an act only after approval from the president. However, since the procedure is mainly for formality’s sake, the chances of opposition parties are slim. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley yesterday tabled the Income Tax Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha. The bill aims at targeting the method of taxation on unaccounted wealth . According to it, a person with unaccounted deposits will have to pay 50 per cent of the amount including tax, penalty and Pradhan Mantri Gareebi Kalyan cess. Further, if the unaccounted wealth is undisclosed, the net rate payable to the government would mount up to 85 per cent.
While discussions for on bill were underway, Jaitley said, “It (the bill) will give means to the government of India to run schemes like Garib Kalyan Kosh…I urge the house to accept the amendments.” The passage of the bill was also rushed because Speaker Sumitra Mahajan deemed the Bill to be of urgent public importance and therefore requiring it to be passed immediately. Though she wanted a debate, she said “it is impossible” because of the behaviour of the opposition members.
The Speaker, further, disallowed some amendments moved by members of the opposition. The reason stated was that they required the approval of the president, which could not be obtained at that point. However, two amendments by N.K. Premchandran of the Revolutionary Socialist Party and B. Mahtab of the Biju Janata Dal were allowed. While Premchandran refused to move the amendment as he was shouting slogans, Mahtab amendment was nullified by a voice vote.
Since the passage of the bill, key members of the opposition have questioned the way in which the ruling party has been conducting itself. The passage of the IT Amendment bill is the first piece of work done by either house of the Parliament in the two weeks since the commencement of the Winter session due to the debacle following demonetisation.