Rajya Sabha returns Finance Bill with amendments

Rajya Sabha returns Finance Bill with amendments

Rajya Sabha returns Finance Bill with amendments

The Finance Bill was approved in Rajya Sabha today, but there was a setback for the NDA government, as the opposition enforced the Upper House to include five amendments before the bill was approved. "The Pentagon is being hacked - what is the guarantee you can prevent the hacking of Aadhaar?" the former finance minister asked in the Rajya Sabha, questioning how the government would prevent and protect the data from hacks and leaks.

Congress member Kabil Sibal, who initiated the debate on the Bill, said that some provisions in the bill tend to weaken the federal structure of the country, will allow the government to snoop on citizens and instill fear among the business community. He also called on the Government to consider the demand for loan waiver of farmers. "We would like the Congress and the BJP, being the two biggest parties which have run governments at the Centre, to come together on this and suggest measures that are acceptable to all", he said.

"There are lot of wild information going around over the authority of assessment officers over search and seizure", said Jaitley. He said that at least 40 new legislations were being "smuggled in" through the Finance Bill. Accusing the government of violating the Supreme Court directions on Aadhaar, he said, "By saying that my Income Tax return would be invalid unless I give my Aadhaar number, you have violated the orders of the court".

Yechury strongly objected to the provision in the Bill about use of Aadhaar for filing income tax returns (ITR).

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On the sections on corporate funding of political parties, he said the steps are aimed at improving the transparency of political funding.

"Now these companies don't even need to disclose this amount or the identity of the beneficiary even to their shareholders", he said, claiming that these provisions were included to ensure that the party in power gets unabated funding for national, state or even civic elections.

He clarified that appointments of judges or retired judges in Appellate Tribunals will be made in consultation with the Chief Justice, as has been the established practice.

The Bill was returned to the Lok Sabha that will consider the amendments moved by the upper House.

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Mr Jaitley replied that he did have a point to make.

Chidambaram said that Aadhaar was never meant to be tagged to IT returns and bank accounts, and said that even the Pentagon was hacked. "The finance minister has really made a serious effort to finish off the spirit of democratic discourse, to finish off parliamentary democracy to not only reduce Rajya Sabha to irrelevance but also to reduce Lok Sabha to complete irrelevance", Jairam Ramesh of the Congress said.

In a letter to Ansari, over 200 activists and eminent personalities, including jurist Fali Nariman and filmmaker and activist Girish Karnad, expressed their shock over the Narendra Modi government's use of the "Money Bill" route to push through important legislations in Parliament. Despite all these concerns, the Bill will not even be debated in the Rajya Sabha and has not been subject to adequate public scrutiny.

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