The Lok Sabha on Friday passed the Finance Bill, 2023, giving approval to taxation proposals in the Union Budget, 2023-24, after adopting several official amendments moved by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
The Finance Minister introduced the Bill just after 12 noon when the Lok Sabha reassembled after an almost hour-long adjournment. Rajendra Agrawal, who was presiding, declared the Bill, as amended, passed by a voice-vote, and adjourned the House till Monday.
A message regarding the passage of the Money Bill in the Lok Sabha was later conveyed to the Rajya Sabha, and it was read out in the Upper House by Secretary-General P C Mody.
With the passage of the Finance Bill, the Lok Sabha has completed all essential agenda pertaining to the passage of the Union Budget, 2023-24. Speaker Om Birla yesterday applied guillotine when demands for grants of Central Ministries were approved by the House at once, without debate.
Introducing the Finance Bill, Ms Sitharaman said the Government proposed to set up a Committee under the chairmanship of the Finance Secretary to look into the National Pension System issues and evolve an approach which addresses the needs of Government employees, while maintaining fiscal prudence to protect common citizens. The approach will be designed for adoption by Central and State Governments.
She said the Government had received representations seeking improvements in the National Pension System. The Minister said the Finance Bill brought in 10 main provisions which are helpful for the middle class and for the community as a whole, and for ease of business. Stakeholder consultations had helped bring in improvements in the Finance Bill, she said. An Amendment was also being made for the GST Council which is establishing a Tribunal.
The Finance Minister said it was represented that payments for foreign tours through credit cards were not being captured under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) and such payments escape tax collection at source. The Reserve Bank is being requested to look into this with a view to bring credit card payments for foreign tours within the ambit of LRS and tax collection at source thereon, Ms Sitharaman said.
Even as the Finance Bill was being passed, the Opposition members kept shouting for a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into alleged financial irregularities by the Adani Group of Companies.
The Rajya Sabha too went through disturbances on Friday, although it took up private members’ business in the afternoon. Before adjourning for Monday, Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar said dialogue, debate and discussion were not taking place.
He said “howsoever severe may be the differences, howsoever divisive may be the approach, howsoever conflicting points of view may be there, this House is called upon to rationalize them.”
Dhankhar said “if we do not use parliamentary theatres to voice public interest issues, the vacuum may be filled otherwise and that does not augur well for democracy. I am sure; there will be thinking people in the country who will generate a climate and ecosystem, to persuade our Members of Parliament that they must take their job seriously in national public interest and participate in the proceedings.”