30 March 2017 Current Affairs: The Parliament passed the Finance Bill 2017, even as the Lok Sabha rejected the amendments to the Bill suggested by the Rajya Sabha.
Key amendments in the Finance Bill 2017:
> The Centre has included amendments to the Income Tax Act, which gives more power to the tax officials. The I-T department will not be required to disclose reasons for carrying out I-T raids or check.
> The Finance Bill also entails unlimited and anonymous corporate funding for political parties. Earlier, the upper limit for donations was capped, which has been removed now.
> Also, the donations will remain anonymous. Donations from foreign entities too will not be disclosed.
> The Bill has also amended the Representation of People’s Act, which governs election.
> Another amendment merges various tribunals (quasi-judicial bodies), which examine appeals of regulatory decisions. The government can now provide for qualification, appointments, removal, etc. for the tribunal members – this means the government will have arbitrary power over the tribunal.
> The Bill also makes Aadhaar mandatory for getting a PAN card and for filing income-tax returns.
> The Bill also reduced cash transaction limit to Rs 2 lakh from earlier Rs 3 lakh.
Union Finance Minister: Arun Jaitley
Lok sabha speaker: Sumitra Mahajan
Rajya sabha speaker: Hamid Ansari