Sharpening its attack on black money, the government on Tuesday proposed lowering the limit on cash transactions to Rs 2 lakh instead of Rs 3 lakh announced in this year’s Budget.
The government also proposed to make Aadhaar card mandatory from July 1 for filing income tax returns. Aadhaar will also be required for seeking the permanent account number (PAN).
The proposals came as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley created history by moving as many as 40 amendments to the Finance Bill. Moving the Bill for discussion in the Lok Sabha, Jaitley also proposed amendments to the Representation of the People Act since, he said, a lot of election funding across the spectrum came from unknown sources.
Jaitley said at present the Act provided for revealing the identity of people making donations above Rs 20,000. The amendment would provide that if the money came by way of electoral bonds, the identity will not be disclosed.
The amendments were moved amid an outcry by the Opposition which objected to the introduction of such amendments through a Money Bill.
In his Budget on February 1, Jaitley had proposed that the legal limit for cash transactions would be Rs 3 lakh, in line with the recommendation of the Supreme Court-constituted special investigation team (SIT) on black money in 2014.
The other proposed amendments to the Finance Bill include those related to the Reserve Bank of India and Securities and Exchange Board of India Acts.
Amendments to laws like Companies Act, Employees Provident Fund, Smuggling and Foreign Exchange Act, Trai Act and Information Technology Act were moved to make the functioning of tribunals more efficient. The amendments propose to merge tribunals and reduce their numbers from 40 to 12.
Jaitley defended the amendments saying if a substantial portion of a Bill deals with imposition or abolition of tax, it can be introduced as a Money Bill even if it has other incidental provisions.
Earlier the government had made Aadhaar mandatory for transfer of subsidies under the welfare schemes for the poor but changed the rule after it was bitterly criticised.
DH News Service
Jaitley moves 40 amendments to Finance Bill, 2017
Oppn says wrong to introduce them through a Money Bill
FM targets black money
Some amendments meant to merge tribunals, make them more efficient