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The Taxation Laws (2nd Amendment) Bill gives those who hold black or undeclared money in banned 500 and 1,000 rupee notes to disclose it to banks by paying a 50 per cent tax, including surcharge and penalty when they deposit it.
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said on Tuesday that since the bill was of urgent public importance, it had to be passed immediately. Though she wanted a debate on it, she said, it was made "impossible" by the opposition, which has disrupted proceedings continuously since the winter session began last week.
The bill has been passed as a money bill which means that the Rajya Sabha or upper house, where the opposition has superior numbers, cannot demand changes. It can only make suggestions which the Lok Sabha is not obliged to consider. The legislation has been introduced as the next step in the government's massive exercise to eliminate black or untaxed money by abolishing 500 and 1,000-rupee notes.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday accused the government of "helping black money hoarders" with its new proposal on taxing black money deposited in banned notes. "The government has given 50 per cent of the black money back to hoarders again," he alleged.
The Opposition says PM Modi must explain the demonetization, alleging that the resultant cash crunch is punishing not the rich, but the poor, especially in rural India, which is excluded from banking and digital transactions.
The BJP has pointed to its success in recent elections to assert that it has the people's support as it attempts to fight corruption. In Gujarat and Maharashtra this week, the BJP has swept civic elections, making deep inroads in rural areas where the Congress had held sway for years.
Meanwhile, another day of the winter session was lost to disruptions on Wednesday, with opposition lawmakers continuing to demand an explanation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the currency ban and also raising the terror attack in Nagrota, Jammu and Kashmir, in which seven armymen were killed on Tuesday. PM Modi was present in the Lok Sabha and the government offered to discuss both issues, but the opposition staged a walkout and forced multiple adjournments of both houses, finally for the day.
Opposition lawmakers wanted a tribute paid through obituary mentions to the two officers and five jawans who died in the terror attack on the Nagrota Army camp. They walked out after Lok Sabha Speaker Sunitra Mahajan suggested that this be done once combing operations had finished in Nagrota.
The government has accused the opposition of looking for excuses to stall parliament. "Why the opposition staged a walkout, I don't know. They wanted PM to attend House, he came. They raised the Nagrota attack, we said that combing ops are underway... They just want to stall parliament," said senior minister Venkaiah Naidu.
"There is a practice in parliament that whenever someone dies we respect them. This is for the first time that there was no such obituary offered for those soldiers who had died. So the Opposition walked out," said Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, outside parliament.