Proceedings in Lok Sabha started with an address from the Prime Minister. This was followed by the Question Hour, after which the Finance Minister introduced the Direct Tax Vivad Se Vishwas Bill, 2020.
The Bill provides a mechanism for resolution of pending tax disputes related to income tax and corporate tax. It allows taxpayers whose cases are locked up in a tax dispute to pay the disputed tax amount before 31st March, 2020 without interest or penalty.
During the Zero Hour discussions, some of the suggestions made included forming a Potato Board similar to a Masala Board or Tea Board for the benefit of potato farmers. Suggestions were also made to encourage the cultivation of lesser cereals like bajra and jowar to meet the twin goals of sustainability and nutritional security.
In Rajya Sabha, the Select Committee Report on Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019 was tabled. The Bill was sent to a Select Committee during the Winter Session in November 2019 after getting passed in Lok Sabha.
The Bill defines surrogacy as a practice in which a woman gives birth to a child for an intending couple with the intention to hand over the child after the birth to the couple.
The Bill prohibits commercial surrogacy, or surrogacy for a monetary benefit or reward. Altruistic surrogacy is permitted under the Bill which involves no monetary compensation to the surrogate mother other than the medical expenses and insurance coverage during the pregnancy.
During the Zero Hour discussion in Rajya Sabha, one Member drew attention to the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission, and how they put South Indian states like Karnataka and Kerala at a disadvantage. Another Member, speaking on air safety, drew attention to the hazard posed by the continued use of Airbus 320 Neo engines by Indian commercial airlines. He pointed to a report by the European Union’s air safety regulator in which a warning was issued.
The Member urged the government to phase out the airplanes at the earliest, instead of extending the deadline to May 2020.
Discussions on the Motion of Thanks on the President's Address were ongoing at the time of sending this email.