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BJP trying to destroy relevance of RS by amendments under Finance Bill: Cong

New Delhi: The Congress on Saturday accused the BJP-led NDA government of trying to destroy the relevance of Rajya Sabha by bringing in amendments in 40 different laws under the Finance Bill passed by Lok Sabha as a Money Bill.

The Opposition party also accused the BJP of bringing opaqueness in political donations instead of ensuing transparency in the states.

“The Finance Bill is a sad commentary on conduct of BJP government hellbent on destroying the relevance of Rajya Sabha,” AICC chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.

He said for the first time in constitutional history, a bill has been passed in Parliament which amends 40 different laws in one go.

He also said that the NDA government and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has not revealed whether the 40 amended laws come under the ‘Finance Bill’ which was passed by Lok Sabha using the provisions of a ‘Money Bill’ by “sheer misuse of majority in Lok Sabha to trample upon Constitutional propriety and established conventions”.

“The cycle of hypocrisy, falsehood and deception by the current BJP government stands exposed. We believe that majority in Parliament can never be used to subterfuge the Constitution and the law by unleashing a new era of unbridled and unchecked ‘Tax Terrorism’ and ‘Raid Raj’ in this country and Congress will fight it determinedly,” Surjewala said.

The Congress leader alleged that government circulated amendments proposed to the Finance Bill by different MPs, but did not do so with amendments proposed by the minister.

“This has diluted legislative powers of the Parliament. To top it, the changes introduced to different laws under the Finance Bill do not even fall within the domain of Finance Ministry,” he said.

Surjewala said probity and accountability of political donations by corporates is over and the Finance Bill has unleashed a sordid culture of “tax robbery” and “raid raj” and provided a window to corporate cronies to maintain a film of opaqueness in political donations.

“Instead of ensuing transparency, fairness, probity and equity. The BJP government has wielded a severe blow by taking recourse to opacity, subterfuge and deception,” he said.

The Congress leader said the biggest vice is “anonymity” and the BJP government has not clarified if the identity and connection of donors will be disclosed or not.

Instead, the government should have ensured that donation is given only by cheque and only then it shall be exempt from Income Tax, he said, noting that there should have been requirements of a declaration as what is the value of bond, who is the purchaser, and to whom, it is donated.

“All this is absent leading to complete opaqueness,” the Congress leader said, noting that earlier there was a cap on how much donation a company could give a political party.

“Surprisingly, that cap has now been removed, permitting donation of unlimited amounts,” he said.

Surjewala also hit out at the government for merging eight different tribunals, which are judicial/quasi-judicial bodies for dispute resolution.

“This is an assault on the integrity of such judicial/quasi-judicial bodies, which can now be filled at the ‘whims and fancies’ of the executive,” he said.

PTI