Parliament proceedings, as it happened | Lok Sabha passes Finance Bill, 2019

July 18, 2019 10:50 am | Updated 11:05 pm IST

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaks in the Lok Sabha.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaks in the Lok Sabha.

Parliament is assembling after India's stand was vindicated at the International Court of Justice in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case. However, the former Navy official will have stay in Pakistan jail. External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar made a statement in the House regarding the issue.

Here are the live updates:

Lok Sabha | 11 p.m.

The House is adjourned for the day. 

Lok Sabha | 7.30 p.m.

The ongoing session of the 17th Lok Sabha has been the most productive in the last 20 years, with the Lower House registering 128% productivity till Tuesday, says PRS Legislative Research, an independent think tank.

 

Rajya Sabha | 7.05 p.m.

Special mentions end. The House is adjourned for the day.

Rajya Sabha | 6.50 p.m.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Law and Justice responds to the suggestions and queries raised by the MPs.

Motion to move the statutory resolution on the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre Ordinance in 2019 is undertaken. A voice vote is taken. The No's overpower. The resolution stands rejected.

 

The New Delhi International Arbitration Centre Bill, 2019 is taken into consideration.

A vote is undertaken. A clause-by-clause vote on the adoption of the Bill is undertaken.

The Minister of Law and Justice moves the motion be passed. The New Delhi International Arbitration Centre Bill, 2019 is passed.

 

The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2019 is also taken into consideration.

A vote is undertaken. A clause-by-clause vote on the adoption of the Bill is undertaken.

The Minister of Law and Justice moves the motion be passed. The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2019 is passed.

Lok Sabha | 5. 50 p.m.

The Finance (No.2) Bill, 2019 is taken into consideration.

A vote is undertaken. A clause-by-clause vote on the adoption of the Bill is undertaken.

The Finance Minister motions that the Bill be passed. The Finance Bill (No. 2), 2019 is passed.

The Chair has extended the House by another two hours. Zero Hour commences.

Lok Sabha | 5.40 p.m.

Ms. Sitharaman states that facilities are being extended for low cost electronic payment systems to be set up in the country. This is keeping in mind the government's goal to digitise the country, she says.

She says that six out of the eight amendments being proposed in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, are explanatory clauses that is an attempt to iron out ambiguities and address grey areas. 

An amendment that is being made is the deletion of a proviso that the government has deemed not necessary.

Ms. Sitharaman says the amendments to the indirect tax have been cleared by the GST Council cleared but will have to come through in the Parliament too.

She says that the amendment to the Reserve Bank of India is to strengthen its regulatory powers with regard to Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC). She says that the government deems it necessary that the RBI takes over the regulation of NBFCs.

On a question raised about digital payments made to political parties, the Finance Minister says that digital payments always leave a trail, right from the destination to the source. Hence, the move is an attempt to make payments made to political parties more transparent.

She concludes by stating that ease of living is the primary driving force of the current government. 

Lok Sabha | 5.30 p.m.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman responding to suggestions and queries, says that the Make in India scheme needs to be given a greater push.

She says that Direct tax amendment of the 25% tax rate will apply to companies with an annual revenue of ₹250 crore. The decision will benefit about 99.3% of the 1.5 million companies will come under this, she says. 

On the incentives being provided for Electrical Vehicles, she says that the deduction on the loan interest is to encourage buyers. This is keeping in mind the state of the environment she says.

Different provisions have been made for startups including allowing them to carry forward their loses to the subsequent financial year, to encourage startups in the country.

She says that the amendments with regard to taxation in the current Budget is to allow ease of business and to encourage the Make in India scheme.

Rajya Sabha | 5 p.m.

P. Chidambaram, INC, Maharashtra, says the Bill allows the government to select the chairman in consultation with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. All the other members will be selected by the government alone, he says. Mr. Chidambaram calls this a 'sarkari' management committee that will inspire no confidence among litigants.

He says that in country like India where half the major arbitrations claims are against the government, the Centre will be seen as a 'sarkari' Centre.

The government must not be allowed to appoint the chairman and the other members, he says. Instead, the government must constitute a collegium as this will be in the larger interest of the country. The government must keep a distance from the centre, he says. 

Rajya Sabha | 4.45 p.m.

Mahesh Poddar, BJP, Jharkhand, says that the chairman of the Arbitration Centre will be selected by the government. Many were critical of this, he says. He adds that that the government will select the chairman in consultation with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Lok Sabha  | 4.30 p.m.

As the discussion and the consideration of The Finance (No.2) Bill,2019 continues, G. Ranjith Reddy, TRS, Telangana, says that the Budget fails to address the issues faced by the people of Telangana. Most of the schemes announced by the government have already been implemented in similar ways in Telangana, he says.

He names different schemes where the State government's budget is bigger or close to the budget of the Centre, despite Telangana being a small State.  He also suggests that the Centre should ensure that some incentive is given to whichever State performs the best in a year. 

Supriya Sadanand Sule, NCP, Maharashtra, says the markets collapsed a week after the Budget was announced this year. This is an indicator that the Budget has not been as well received as the government says it has, she says.

Ms. Sule says that the government must look into the persons named in the Panama papers and take due action. The Panama Papers consist of millions of documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca,  that shared financial information of offshore entities, revealing fraud, tax evasion and attempts to avoid international sanctions by some of the biggest names from across the world. It was leaked to the media in April 2016.

Rajya Sabha | 4 p.m.

Abhishek Manu Singhvi says the Srikrishna Committee had recommended to declare the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre as an institute of national importance.

Lok Sabha | 3.45 p.m.

Shiv Sena Member Rahul Shevale says that real estate must be made a priority sector.

Bhatruhari Mahtab wants partnership firms and small sole proprietor firms to also be included under corporate tax. He also brings up the increase in customs duty for imported newsprint.

Rajya Sabha | 3.30 p.m.

Prashanta Nanda (BJD) commends the government for making all attempts to bring ease of business to India.

K. Somaprasad of the CPI(M) says he supports the Bill. As a policy, the government is promoting FDI in every corner of the economy, he says, adding that India becoming an international hub for arbitration is a good idea.

Lok Sabha | 3.15 pm

Nishikant Dubey knows so much about corruption. Why not make him a minister and catch all those who are indulging in corruption, Sougata Roy (Trinamool) says.

The government has not given any figures on black money. We want to have a White Paper on how many MSME were closed due to demonetisation. The Finance Minister, however, doesn't mention it. Demonetisation is a bad scheme, best forgotten, according to them, Prof. Roy says.

Prof. Roy mentions Ambani and Adani in his speech. Nishikant Dubey raises Point of Order, says Prof. Roy must prove how they have benefited from the corporate tax. Prof. Roy insists they are names of companies and he didn't mention the name.

Mr. Dubey says if he mentions the community, it is even more dangerous. House not in order. Meenakshi Lekhi, who is in the Chair, asks members to calm down. "School children are watching us. What will they learn?" A member shouts back: "They will learn that the government is supporting Ambani and Adani."

Bhartruhari Mahtab says we have taken Tatas and Birlas too. Let the Secretariat go through the records and decide. The Chair agrees.

Rajya Sabha | 3.00 p.m.

Rajya Sabha is discussing The New Delhi International Arbitration Centre Bill, 2019 .

The Bill seeks to establish the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre to conduct arbitration, mediation, and conciliation proceedings.

Under the Bill, the NDIAC will consist of seven members including the Chairperson. The members of NDIAC will hold office for three years and will be eligible for re-appointment.  The retirement age for the Chairperson is 70 years and other members is 67 years.

The Bill specifies that the NDIAC will establish a Chamber of Arbitration which will maintain a permanent panel of arbitrators.

Lok Sabha | 2.45 p.m.

Thamizhachi Thangapandian (DMK) makes her maiden speech. She says the Centre has ignored those affected by cyclone Gaja. The thrust on disinvestment will make the country bleed. Till date, agriculture and fisheries are not treated as industries.

Midhun Reddy (YSRCP) is the next Speaker. He reiterates the party's demand for a Special Category Status to Andhra Pradesh. He also highlights the promises made to the State at the time of bifurcation and notes the Budget has not allocated any money. He alleges the government is not paying GST to contracts but the GST department is putting penalty to the contractor.

Lok Sabha | 2.10 p.m.

Nishikant Dubey (BJP) speaks on the Finance Bill as the House reconvenes. He says that Congress has Stockholm Syndrome.

Rajya Sabha | 2 p.m.

The House decides to take up two Bills for consideration and passing. The first is The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad says the government is very keen that India becomes a hub of arbitration.

Rajya Sabha | 12.50 p.m.

Minister Rao Inderjit Singh says Niti Aayog encourages competitive federalism, while answering a question on the new Centre-State policy.

Shanta Chhetri asks if India and China are going to reduce their nuclear stockpiles. Minister Jaishankar says that talks are on for disarmament and non-proliferation, and India wants it to be a fair settlement.

Deputy Chairman says today was the first time that Dr. Jaishankar got to answer in the House. House is adjourned till 2 p.m.

Lok Sabha | 12.45 p.m.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman responds to queries on the Finance Bill. She says that the finance bill will look into the taxation process keeping in mind the agenda of 'Make in India'.

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury says that earlier amendments to the Finance Bill 2017 are in the Supreme Court to test the constitutional validity of those amendments.

Mr. Chowdhury asks Minister to reconsider the decision to tax pension of soldiers with disability. House is adjourned till 2.10 pm

Rajya Sabha | 12.20 p.m.

Question Hour is on. Ravi Shankar Prasad answers a question on saving livestock during natural disasters.

Dhotre Sanjay Shamrao answers a question on the performance of BSNL.

Lok Sabha | 12.15 p.m.

N.K. Premachandran (RSP) says that powers given to the RBI under the Finance Bill, should not come under the purview of the Bill. He says these are permanent changes being made using a Money Bill. The Bill amends several Acts, which do not come within the ambit of the Finance Bill. He says these are added to the Finance Bill to avoid discussion on these amendments.

Lok Sabha | 12. 00 a.m.

Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Water Minister of India speaks to link the rivers in India to solve drinking water scarcity in the country.

Karnataka MP Shobha Karandlaje speaks about the scarcity of drinking water in different parts of her State. She also mentions about Karnataka’s disputes with Tamil Nadu over Cauvery water.

“Fight there, not here”, Speaker says leading to a peal of laughter from members.

Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Minister of Minority Affairs says the current government has given scholarship to more than 3 crore minority students all over the country.

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar says India viewed best possible support to Kulbhushan Jadhav. The matter was taken upto International Court of Justice (ICJ) which delivered judgement yesterday. The court said Pakistan breached Vienna laws without informing India and declared that Pakistan should provide counsellor access to India. The judgement ruled in favour of India with 15 judges in favour of Kulbhusan with only one judge ruled against him who is from Pakistan. The Government tried its best efforts to release him. The judgement was not only in favour of India but all those who believes in law.

He further adds that Kulbhushan has shown courage in hard times and asks Pakistan to release him.

Lok Sabha | 11. 40 a.m.

Lok Sabha continues with Question Hour. MoS Hardeep Singh Puri is answering questions pertaining to his civil aviation ministry.

Will there be any flights connecting Delhi to Agatala? We have 12 flights plying between two cities, even after Spice Jet and Jet Airways have closed their service, he says.

When will Darbanga and Muzzafarpur airports begin to function? The AAI has undertaken construction. The State has not handed over land in Darbanga. Four airports are coming up in Bihar.

Rajya Sabha | 11.20 a.m.

Anand Sharma raises a Point of Order. He takes up the issue of yesterday's Supreme Court order on rebel Karnataka MLAs. Mr. Sharma says the verdict is in conflict with the parliament's soverignity.

The Chair objects, says the matter is not before the House. "I will give a detailed order, now that you have made a statement," he says.

Samajwadi party leader Ram Gopal Yadav raises on killing on 10 adivasi. He targets Uttar Pradesh government. His party members join the issue. They troop the well of the House.

House is adjourned till 12 noon.

Rajya Sabha | 11.05 a.m.

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar briefs Rajya Sabha on the Kulbushan Jadhav judgment. He says Pakistan had illegally detained Mr. Jadhav and awarded him death sentence on fabricated charges, that too without providing consular access to him.

India took the issue with the International Court of Justice to ensure the safety, security and well being of Mr. Jadhav. That body stayed the execution of death penalty as a provisional measure.

The ICJ delivered its justice on the Jadhav case yesterday. Significantly, the court unanimously found it had jurisdiction to the matter and by a vote of 15 to one pronounced its verdict on other key issues, Mr. Jaishankar says.

The sole dissenting judge was from Pakistan, Mr. Jaishankar says elaborating the judgment.

The government made a promise in the House that the government will take all steps necessary to protect the interests of  Mr. Jadhav. The government has made untiring efforts in seeking his release. I am sure the House will joining in appreciating the efforts of all those involved, especially the legal team lead by Harish Salve. Members approve by thumping the desks.

Mr. Jaishankar mentions the contribution of Harish Salve, who pleaded on behalf of India at the ICJ.

Yesterday's judgment was not just a vindication for India, but for all those who believe in the rule of law, Mr. Jaishankar says.

Mr. Jaishankar says Mr. Jadhav is innocent and no forced confession will change this fact. We once again call upon Pakistan to release and repatriate him forthwith.

"I am happy the entire House has joined together to support judgement," the Chair says.

Lok Sabha | 11.00 a.m.

Question Hour begins in Lok Sabha. Harish Dwivedi (BJP) asks about solar street lights. He says a private firm was asked to install and maintain solar lights in his constituency Basti. The Minister says the lights are installed by contractors and they come with five years guarantee. If the firm is found not maintaining them, the contractor would be blacklisted.

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