Rajya Sabha passes Finance Bill

Rajya Sabha passes Finance Bill

Amid an all-out Opposition attack on the Centre for corruption and alleged inept handling of foreign policy, Finance Minister P Chidambaram Thursday took credit for adding to the list of taxpayers, 50 lakh more people in three months up to March, thus increasing India’s revenue collection.

“Between January and March we issued notices after mining the data and, thanks to the advertising campaign, I have added 50 lakh more taxpayers into the tax net over a three-month period. We would like to do the same in 2013-14 and we will add many more,” Chidambaram said in his brief reply to the Finance Bill in the Rajya Sabha. The Rajya Sabha later returned the bill to the Lok Sabha without any discussion which distressed Chidambaram, who said despite political differences, the economic issues confronting the nation, especially fiscal deficit, current account deficit and capital flows ought to have been discussed.

“We have political differences. But can we not agree that economy of the country is beyond political difference. Can't we take a bipartisan approach? All of us want India to grow at a rapid pace so that we can lift many more millions out of poverty,” Chidamabram said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and some other parties walked out of the House soon after the Finance Bill was introduced. Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley attacked the government and alleged that it kept mum on the issues of foreign policy and that its handling of the same was inept in case of Sarabjit Singh, who died in Pakistan after a fatal attack on him in jail there.

Apart from the BJP, those who walked out of the House belonged to Left parties, Janata Dal (United), Biju Janata Dal, DMK, AIADMK and the Trinamool Congress.Chidamabram said he wanted to reply clause by clause to the issues raised by the Opposition but did not see the need to speak to the empty House.

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