Finance Bill clauses irk Cong.

‘Government introducing amendments to laws unrelated to finance in Bill’
Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Thursday claimed that the ‘sanctity of Budget numbers have been called into question’ and strongly objected to the manner in which Finance 2019 Bill was introduced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. As soon as the Finance Minister introduced the Bill, Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) MP N.K. Premachandran contended that a Finance Bill should be about taxation but the 2019 Finance Bill had provisions to amend a number of laws, including the Benami, SEBI and PMLA Acts and urged Speaker Om Birla to disallow it. Ms. Sitharaman said the government considered changes to these laws absolutely necessary and pointed out that seven pieces of legislation are being amended to make changes to direct taxes and another seven laws are being changed with regard to indirect taxes. Though the Speaker allowed the Finance Minister to move the Bill, Mr. Chowdhury charged the government with routinely making amendments to laws that are not related to finance but brought as part of the Finance Bill. The Congress leader got into a spat with the junior minister for Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Meghwal when the Minister pointed out that the Congress leader was raising objections even after the Speaker had allowed the Bill. The Congress leader claimed that though the Centre earned by imposing cesses and surcharges, those collections are not devolved to the States. “You should not see the past as a cancelled cheque… you should look at from where we started,” Mr. Chowdhury said and advised the Modi government not to be ‘boastful and vainglorious.’ “The country is gasping for employment… the employment figures are heart-wrenching,” he said and stressed that the Budget should have a ‘wealth generation’ to build the economy.

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