Lok Sabha today took up discussion on the Finance Bill.

 

Some members during the debate welcomed the tax proposals to reduce income tax rates from 10% to 5% for individuals with income between Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 5 lakh and reduction of corporation tax from 30% to 25% for companies with annual turnover of less than Rs 50 crore. 

 

Members raised questions about including certain legislative proposals in the Finance Bill which do not pertain to imposition of tax. These proposals are structural in nature and amend various laws such as the (i) Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, (ii) Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007, (iii) Income Tax Act, 1961, (iv) Representation of the People Act, 1951, and (v) Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992.  

 

Members also spoke about the proposals on political party funding that are included in the Bill. The Bill lowers the limit of cash donations (from Rs. 20000 to Rs. 2000) to political parties and introduces a new mode of contribution – electoral bonds. Members debated if such measures will bring about more transparency in political funding. You can watch our video here to understand these provisions.

 

Comparison of donations and disclosure requirements of political parties in different countries

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Sources: UK: UK Electoral Commission; US: Federal Election Commission; Australia: Australian Electoral Commission (February 2017); Germany: US Library of Congress; South Africa: South Africa Independent Election Commission; PRS.  

Note: *Australia’s current disclosure threshold is applicable from July 2016 to June 2017. # Parties receiving anonymous donations in the UK should return them to the donor through financial institution used, or to the Electoral Commission, which will deposit it into the consolidated fund.

 

Rajya Sabha passed the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention & Control) Bill. Members participating in the debate suggested that separate allocation be made for HIV/AIDS affected people, mandatory sex education be introduced in schools, and other such measures be taken for prevention. 

 

The Upper House also took up discussion on the General Budget. 

 

Both houses were working at the time of sending this report.

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