Bill to tax black money pushed through in LS

It took barely 20 minutes for the Lok Sabha to pass amendments to tax black money deposits at 50% and set up a special fund for welfare schemes as the opposition's demand that demonetisation of Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 notes be discussed first were firmly overruled by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.
The Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Bill, 2016 was passed by voice vote amid din as the opposition protested the government's refusal to accept an adjournment motion on demonetisation and the Speaker rejected their amendments and said the bill needed to be passed in view of its importance. “It is impossible to hold a debate due to the behaviour of opposition members,“ Mahajan said while putting the bill to vote.
Speaking on the bill, finance minister Arun Jaitley said, “Our government has tried to cleanse politics as well as the economy ... the amendment has been introduced to see that maximum black money is brought into the mainstream.“
Opposition MPs like Trinamool's Saugata Roy criticised the government for introducing the amendment bill “stealthily“ and said they had not been given sufficient time to study its provisions and discuss the legislation.Congress's Mallikarjun Kharge accused the government of using its majority to “bulldoze“ legislation through Lok Sabha. Trinamool's Sudip Bandopadhyay said demonetisation and tax amendments could not be taken up at the same time. Later, Congress deputy chief whip K C Venugopal, said, “Passing such an important bill amid opposition protests without hearing their grave concerns sets a wrong precedent and is a violation of constitutional values.“
The government, however, accorded high priority to the amendment bill which states that those disclosing black money to banks will have to pay 50% tax, including surcharge and penalty . Of the remaining 50% of the money , they will get back 25% immediately and the other 25% will be returned after four years without interest.The amendment is seen as a bid to tap black money that the government fears will be “recirculated“ all over again.As the scheme legalises disclosed money , the government expects people to opt for the choice rather than deal with a new stash of unaccounted cash.
The money received will be deposited in the `PM Garib Kalyan Kosh' provisioned in the bill for the welfare of the poor. The bill will go to Rajya Sabha, where the ruling alliance lacks a majority but being a “money bill“, it can be deemed a law after a fortnight if the upper House does not clear it. While opposition MPs shouted slogans, Jaitley explained the significance of the bill as he said the government came across examples of people trying to exchange demonetised currency illegally. Jaitley explained that after the proposed amendment comes into force, those caught converting money illegally will have to cough up 60% plus penalties, amounting to 85%. “It will give means to the government to run schemes like Garib Kalyan Kosh... I urge the House to accept the amendments,“ he said.

No comments: