Amid Oppn protest, LS clears Bill to tax deposits after demonetisation

RSTV Bureau
File photo of protest in Lok Sabha Photo - PTI

File photo of protest in Lok Sabha
Photo – PTI

Amid a din, a bill which seeks to tax money deposited in banks post demonetisation was passed in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday within minutes without any debate. The Opposition in the lower house, which has been protesting over the issue of demonetisation, questioned government for bringing the bill for consideration and passage at a short notice.

Amid fierce slogan shouting by the opposition, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the Taxation Laws (2nd Amendment) Bill, 2016 was brought after it came to the government’s notice that some people were trying to illegally exchange the demonetised Rs 1000 and Rs 500 currency notes.

As per the amendment proposed in the bill, those caught illegally converting money will have to pay 60% tax plus penalties, which will come to 85 per cent.

While, those who disclose black money to banks will have to pay 50% tax, including surcharge and penalty. While they will get back 25%, the rest 25% will be returned after 4 years.

“It will give means to the Government of India to run schemes like Garib Kalyan Kosh…I urge the House to accept the amendments,” Arun Jaitley said.

New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and MoS (IC) Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines Piyush Goyal arrive for the BJP Parliamentary Party meeting in New Delhi, Nov 29, 2016. Photo - PTI

New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and MoS (IC) Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines Piyush Goyal arrive for the BJP Parliamentary Party meeting in New Delhi, Nov 29, 2016.
Photo – PTI

However, the house saw stiff opposition protest with Congress, TMC and several other opposition MPs insisting the bill could not be discussed before the debate on demonetisation as the measure was a follow up of the note ban decision.

Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and TMC’s Sudip Bandhopadhyay said both the Adjournment Motion on demonetisation and the Income Tax Amendment Bill can be discussed together as the issues were similar.

Charging that the bill was moved “surreptiously”, TMC’s Saugata Roy said the opposition did not get a chance to oppose its introduction as per rules. Meanwhile, BJD MP B Mahtab said discussion on demonetisation was also necessary along with a debate on the bill as it had serious repercussions on the Income Tax laws. He said a way should be found.

As the Opposition refused to call-off their protest, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said since the bill is of urgent public importance, it has to be passed immediately. Later briefing the press, she said that she wanted a debate but it was not possible due to the protest in the house.

She also disallowed some amendments moved by opposition members as they required approval of the President which could not be obtained. Two amendments by N K Premchandran (RSP) and B Mahtab (BJD) were allowed.

Soon after the bill was passed by a voice vote, Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day.

(With inputs from the PTI)