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Controversial Finance Bill amendments (Relevant for GS Prelims, GS Mains Paper II)

Finance Bill, which is a type of money bill, typically includes provisions that give effect to the imposition of a tax or a change in existing tax rates.
Questionable Contents of Finance Bill, 2017
1.The Finance Bill, 2017 allows the central government to specify the appointments, tenure, removal, and reappointment of chairpersons and members of Tribunals through Rules.
Currently, these provisions are specified in the parent laws establishing these Tribunals. The fundamental issue here is whether it is appropriate to delegate such matters to the government through Rules.
2. It also makes Aadhaar mandatory when applying for a Permanent Account Number (PAN), or filing Income Tax returns. Every person holding a PAN is also required to provide his Aadhaar number, else the PAN will be invalid.
3. The Finance Bill allows anonymous donations to political parties through electoral bonds. It also removes existing limits on the percentage of profits that a company can donate to political parties.
Anonymity in political funding may be desirable to protect donors from harassment from rival political parties. On the other hand, transparency in donations to political parties provides information on interested entities that financially support political parties.

Why usually the details of rules left to the government?
The idea behind delegating Rulemaking to the government is to address the need for expediency and flexibility in implementation of laws. While a Bill requires parliamentary approval in order to be enforced, Rules do not.

Why is the move being opposed?
1. Giving the government the power to make Rules regarding the appointment, removal, and reappointment of members on a Tribunal lowers the threshold of parliamentary scrutiny.
There could be a conflict of interest if the government were to be a litigant before a Tribunal because Tribunals are quasi-judicial bodies that are headed by a senior member of the judiciary, such as a judge of the Supreme Court or Chief Justice of a High Court.
2. This year, the Finance Bill has been passed by LokSabha with not only changes to applicable taxes, but also structural changes to institutions and sectors. Since the Finance Bill is a Money Bill, it only needs the approval of LokSabha, and Rajya Sabha may only make recommendations. If Rajya Sabha does not pass the Bill within 14 calendar days, it is deemed to be passed.



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