New Delhi: Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed a major bill that provides a window to legalise black money post-demonetisation and a tax on that amount, triggering a controversy with the Opposition calling it a “black day” and accusing it of being “undemocratic and dictatorial”.
Marking transaction of the first legislative business in the two-week-old Winter Session, the Taxation Laws (2nd Amendment) Bill, 2016, was passed by the Lower House amidst din and without debate.
After days of total washout due to paralysis in the wake of demonetisation issue, the government suddenly brought the bill under the revised list of business showing its eagerness to get it passed immediately.
Even as the slogan-shouting by Opposition members continued, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said 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,” he said while moving the bill for consideration and passing.
Immediately, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan declared, “There will be no discussion”. However, later she lamented that an important bill like this was being discussed without any discussion.
Jaitley said the bill 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.
He said as per the amendment proposed, those caught illegally converting money will have to cough up 60 per cent tax plus penalties, which will come to 85 per cent.
Those who disclose black money to banks will have to pay 50 per cent tax, including surcharge and penalty. While they will get back 25 per cent immediately, the rest 25 per cent will be returned after 4 years.
Earlier, opposition members said the bill could not be discussed before the debate on demonetisation as the measure was a follow up of the note ban decision.
Mahajan said since the bill is of urgent public importance, it has to be passed immediately. Though she wanted a debate, she said “it is impossible” because of the behaviour of the opposition members.
After the passage of the bill, the opposition termed as “black day” in Lok Sabha the passage of taxation bill amidst din without debate and accused the government of being “undemocratic and dictatorial.
The government, however, blamed the opposition for not participating in the debate and said it was “tragic” that the Bill had to be passed in the din.
(With Agency Inputs)