Centre rushes Budget through Lok Sabha, Opposition livid
Unlike in previous finance bills, there were no significant changes, with the government deciding to not roll back any of the tax provisions, including the controversial levy of long-term capital gains tax at the rate of 10% on the sale of listed shares.india Updated: Mar 14, 2018 23:06 IST
The Lok Sabha passed Finance Bill 2018 without discussion in less than half-an-hour on Wednesday, streamlining tax breaks for start-ups and exempting foreign companies from the need to quote a permanent account number (PAN), amid opposition protests.
Start-ups are allowed 100% deduction of profits for any three of the seven years from their incorporation date. However, they have had to comply with a stipulation that their turnover cannot exceed Rs 25 crore in the seven years since incorporation or else they could lose out on the tax benefits. The finance bill now seeks to correct this anomaly.
The budget restricted the requirement of quoting PAN for all transactions over Rs 2.5 lakh to only residents. This will improve the ease of doing business for foreign companies, trusts and partnership firms, said Naveen Wadhwa, deputy general manager at Taxmann.com .
Unlike in previous finance bills, there were no significant changes, with the government deciding to not roll back any of the tax provisions, including the controversial levy of long-term capital gains tax at the rate of 10% on the sale of listed shares.
Some minor relief has been given in terms of allowing indexation benefits for unlisted shares in certain tax-neutral transfers like inheritance, demergers and amalgamation.
Indexation benefits allow the owner of shares to increase the cost of acquisition and consequently reduce the capital gains.
The bill will now go to the Rajya Sabha. Since it is a money bill, the upper house can only suggest changes which may or may not be accepted.
Both houses of Parliament have seen repeated adjournments over opposition protests against various issues, including the passage of the budget without a debate and a recent scam at Punjab National Bank (PNB).
The opposition slammed the government for pushing the budget through without a discussion. Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia called it “a black day for democracy.”
“The most important bill of the finance ministry has been passed without discussion or debate by strangling democracy,” he said.
“The united opposition has been trying to raise the issue for many days and we wanted a discussion on the (PNB) bank fraud…The Speaker called the opposition parties but the government did not,” Scindia said.
While the treasury and ruling party benches were full after a whip issued by the Bharatiya Janata Party, members of the Congress, Trinamool Congress and Nationalist Congress Party walked out when amendments were being moved.