Parliament LIVE Updates: Anurag Thakur says PM CARES fund to be audited by same authority that inspects PMNRF



Parliament LIVE Updates: MoS Finance Anurag Thakur addressed arguments made by the Opposition MPs over the PM CARES fund in the Lok Sabha on Saturday.

Parliament LATEST Updates: MoS Finance Anurag Thakur addressed arguments made by the Opposition MPs over the PM CARES fund in the Lok Sabha on Saturday.

“Why is there such distrust about PM cares fund? Is there any past experience which has caused it?

“The initial fund was given by PM Modi’s mother and other ordinary people. This will be audited by the same group that audits the PM Relief fund. This will be dispensed by a committee and is not person specific. This is a registered trust,” he said.

TMC MP Mahua Moitra added to the debate on the Taxation Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha on Saturday, and slammed the Centre on multiple counts including the donations made by Chinese companies to the PM CARES fund.

She said that the bill is “deeply problematic because it further weakens the rights and resources available to states by taking away statutory promises made under the new GST regime. It also corners the public funds for PM CARES to the direct detriment of state relief funds.”

She added, “Government allowed CSR to PM CARES, but disallowed to state relief fund, which is an unfair step. Also, 38 PSUs donated to PM CARES, but no audit has been done regarding it.”

“Massive donations were done by Chinese companies to PM CARES — Xiaomi, TikTok, etc. Why is the government accepting donations from our enemy companies, the tainted money should be returned,” she added.

The Lok Sabha has begun debate on the Taxation Amendment Bill moved by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The introduction of the bill caused lively discussion on the PM CARES fund, GST, and the state of the economy on Friday.

MoS Labour and Employment Santosh Kumar Gangwar sought to introduce three bills in the Lok Sabha on Saturday: The Occupational Safety, Health And Working Conditions Code, 2020, The Industrial Relations Code, 2020, The Code On Social Security, 2020.

Giving relief to taxpayers following the COVID-19 outbreak, the government had through the ordinance extended the deadline for filing of income tax returns for 2018-19 fiscal till 30 September and linking biometric Aadhaar with PAN till 31 March, 2021.

All issues not included under Epidemic Act or National Disaster Management Act will be included in the Public Health Act, said the Union health minister.

Sitharaman told the Rajya Sabha that the suspension of Sections 7, 9 and 10 of IBC was aimed at preventing businesses from getting pushed into insolvency. “With this intention, Section 10A of the ordinance was brought in,” said Sitharaman.

Congress Vivek Tankha said the enactment of 10A will be counterproductive as there is no certainty in how long the pandemic will continue.

Uproar in Rajya Sabha followed as Opposition demanded discussion on Agriculture Bills passed in Lok Sabha. Chairman Venkaiah Naidu said that Bills are to be taken next day, and the discussion can take place then.

On the sixth day of the Parliament’s Monsoon session, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday will table the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill 2020 for consideration and passing.

The Bill will replace the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, which was promulgated on 5 June and prohibited the initiation of insolvency proceedings for defaults arising during the six months from 25 March 2020 (extendable upto one year).

The Ordinance came as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which had created uncertainty and stress for businesses. It was also felt that during the coronavorus lockdown, it may be difficult to find an adequate number of resolution applicants to rescue the corporate debtor who may default in discharging their debt.

Among the ordinances to be discussed in the Upper House is Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance 2020. The Ordinance seeks amendments to the 125-years-old Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, that protects health workers in the country.

Earlier in April, the government had approved an ordinance that recognised any crime against health professionals as a “cognizable and non-bailable” offence. It means that offenders can be arrested without a warrant, and no bail would be granted.

Offenders can also be fined anywhere between Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakh and will also have to serve a prison term between three months to five years, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar had said in April.

The Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020, is listed to be taken in consideration in the Lower House on Saturday.

The Bill seeks to replace the Taxation and other Laws (Relaxation of Certain Provisions) Ordinance, 2020, issued in March 2020.

Giving relief to taxpayers following the COVID-19 outbreak, the government had through the ordinance extended the deadline for filing of income tax returns for 2018-19 fiscal till 30 September and linking biometric Aadhaar with PAN till 31 March, 2021.

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla called for introduction of the bill on Friday. However, since the minister was not present, the House then took up discussion on two farm sector related legislations.

Home Minister Amot Shah will move the Bill seeking to establish a National Forensic Sciences University as an institution of national importance by upgrading the Gujarat Forensic Sciences University in Gandhinagar, be taken into consideration.

Parliament proceedings on 18 September

On Friday, the Lower House witnessed first adjournment in the Monsoon Session over disruption when Treasury and Opposition members clashed over PM-CARES fund.

The proceedings in the Lower House were disrupted as the Opposition raised slogans against Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur for his allegation that the PM National Relief Fund (PMNRF) was set up “only for the benefit of the Gandhi family”.

“The trust was set up during the tenure of former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and was not even registered as a public trust but it got all relevant clearance, including FCRA,” Thakur said, intervening during the introduction of the Taxation and other Laws (Relaxation of Certain Provisions) Bill.

“The PM Cares Fund is a constitutionally set up public charitable trust. PM National Relief Fund was set up only for the benefits of one family — the Nehru-Gandhi family,” he said.

On the other hand Rajya Sabha passed four Bills in less than four hours. The Upper House too was adjourned for 30 minutes to mourn the death of Karnataka MP Ashok Gasti.

The Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020; Salaries and Allowances of Ministers (Amendment) Bill, 2020; Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020; and Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2020, were passed in the Upper House.

With inputs from PTI

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