Finance bill set to get green signal today
Faced with a volatile political atmosphere, the government is set to get Lok Sabha's nod for the crucial finance bill on Tuesday to avoid a potential Constitutional crisis.delhi Updated: Apr 30, 2013 00:20 IST
Faced with a volatile political atmosphere, the government is set to get Lok Sabha's nod for the crucial finance bill on Tuesday to avoid a potential Constitutional crisis.
Finance minister P Chidambaram is likely to announce Rs. 2,000-crore worth of tax breaks, including a clarification on wealth tax on farm land.
Chidambaram is also likely to provide a clarification on a controversial clause of the bill and assure investors that it was not targeting investors from countries such as Mauritius by questioning the validity of tax residency certificates.
He is expected to introduce 12 amendments in the finance bill, sources said.
With both Houses of Parliament failing to transact any business for the fifth consecutive day, Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar on Monday stepped in to broker a temporary truce between the government and the opposition to help the pass the finance bill, the railways appropriation bill and demands for grants of ministries.
The government agreed to advance the dates for passing the finance bill by a week to Tuesday and promised to consider the opposition's demand that the Prime Minister call an all-party meeting to discuss issues such as the incursion by China, the leaked draft Joint Parliamentary Committee report on the 2G scam and alleged interference into CBI's probe in the coal block allocation scam.
As per the rules, the government has to get all money bills related to the budget passed within 75 days of its presentation.
Since these bills will have to go to Rajya Sabha and then the President for his assent, the government played it safe by advancing the date for their passage.
In case the opposition ups the ante on any contentious issue, the government is keeping the option open of adjourning both Houses of Parliament sine die before schedule.
The government does not anticipate any major disruptions in Lok Sabha on Tuesday afternoon as the BJP-led NDA is expected to stage a walkout as soon as the finance bill is taken up for discussion.
Initially, leader of the opposition Sushma Swaraj said she would say a "few words" before the finance bill is passed, but others felt it would be useless to have a discussion on the budget for just 4-5 hours.
"It is unfortunate that the budget will be passed without discussion. But this is not the first time such a step will be taken. In 1991, budgets were passed without discussions," CPI(M)'s Basudeb Acharya said.
The fate of the food security bill and land bill remains uncertain.
The finance minister in his budget 2013-14 had proposed levying 1% wealth tax on the value of the agricultural land that fell within eight kilometers of the municipal limits of the city.
But members of both ruling and opposition parties called the proposed tax "unwarranted" and asked the government not to impose it.
Chidambaram is likely to clarify that no wealth tax on farm land will be imposed.