Govt encouraging crony capitalism alleges opposition in Rajya Sabha

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram and FM Arun Jaitley

Therefore, they can not and should not be passed as Money Bills.

The Bill, already passed by the Lok Sabha, was moved in the Rajya Sabha on March 27.

"This is not a Finance Bill".

Opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha, including the Congress, SP, BSP and the Left, lambasted the government for not making enough provisions for the creation of jobs through rural employment guarantee scheme or to have farm loan waivers to check the growing number of farmers' suicide. Despite all these concerns, the Bill will not even be debated in the Rajya Sabha and has not been subject to adequate public scrutiny.

"As concerned citizens of India, we are appalled and dismayed at the Government's use of Money Bills to push through important legislation that affects all citizens, without requiring approval by both houses of Parliament. He has really gone in for the kill in Finance Bill", the former Union minister said. Read Also: Modi scared of questions, has lot to hide: Yechury The BJP does not have a majority in the Rajya Sabha and it is hard for the government to win its backing for any contentious legislation.

Congress MP Kapil Sibal highlighted how the proposed amendments to the Companies Act not only lift the existing ceiling on corporate funding of political parties but also remove the disclosure provision.

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Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Satish Chandra Misra said that the provision of political funding was created to benefit only the ruling party. "Companies who are crying for contracts, companies against whom proceedings are going to take place, companies who are financially in bad shape, companies where restructuring is going to be done, will be asked to pay money into the kitty of a political party without the name being disclosed and there would be financial havoc", he said. The Finance Bill also gives sweeping powers without accountability to the Income Tax department, which can encourage extortion at all levels. Jaitley also responded to questions over changes proposed to the Income Tax laws and asserted that any source who reports about any tax evasion, can not be allowed to be identified. If you say you must give it to the bank as well, then even banking transactions could be hacked.

He argued that the UPA Government had introduced Aadhaar only for the Public Distribution System and it was meant for subsidies to reach targeted people.

Samajwadi party member Naresh Agarwal wanted to know whether the merger of various tribunals could be brought in through the Finance Bill. He asked whether the government now planned to legislate on love.

To this, the finance minister said, "the fact that technology can be broken into is never an argument which is given for not using technology". He described the government's tendency of smuggling amendments into unrelated laws as "bypass surgery".

"While the government and the Speaker have ignored the concerns raised by the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, it has become a duty to speak out and raise concerns following the passage of a Bill that has in one fell swoop affected so many multiple rights that we normally take for granted", said economist Jayati Ghosh.

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