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Lok Sabha Passes Bill to Undo Retrospective Tax Law; Both Houses Adjourned

Lok Sabha passed the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021, in view of India’s tax dispute with Cairn Energy.

Updated
India
3 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.</p></div>
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Amid continuing Opposition protests over the Pegasus row, the Centre’s three farm laws, among other issues, both the Houses of the Parliament were adjourned on Friday, till 11am on Monday, 9 August.

Meanwhile, the Lok Sabha passed the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021, to undo the retrospective tax law, in view of India’s tax dispute with oil and gas firm Cairn Energy, which seems to have cost the Indian government not just millions of dollars but is severely damaging its image as an investment destination with ‘ease of doing business'.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on the Bill, “Keeping up the commitment of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that we don't believe in the retrospective application of tax, we are fulfilling that word by bringing this amendment”, news agency ANI reported

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Reacting to the passage of the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill 2021, RBI governor Shaktikanta Das said, "This was a long pending issue. The government has taken a timely decision. It is a welcome step," ANI reported.

Some Background on Retrospective Tax Law

The retrospective tax law, which was introduced in 2012, was used to heap huge tax demands on companies, including Vodafone and Cairn Energy, for transactions that had taken place prior to 28 May 2012.

The new Bill provides for a refund of the amount paid, without interest.

The Centre's decision comes after both Vodafone and Cairn Energy won international arbitrations relating to the tax dispute last year.

British energy major Cairn Energy, on Thursday, said that it has noted the proposal in Parliament and said, "We are monitoring the situation and will provide a further update in due course," BloombergQuint reported.

The firm had, on 23 December 2020, won an international arbitration case against the Indian government over a tax dispute. Prior to this, the Vodafone Group had in September 2020 won an international arbitration case against the levying of retrospective taxes on them by the government.

The Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2021

On Friday, Lok Sabha passed the Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2021, that seeks to amend the Central Universities Act, 2009, to provide for the establishment of a university in the Union territory of Ladakh.

Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had introduced the Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2021 on Thursday.

As per the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill, at present there is no central university in Ladakh and therefore, the government has decided to establish a new central university.

This is being done to ensure increase in accessibility and quality of higher education, and to facilitate and promote avenues of higher education and research for the people of the Union territory, PTI reported.

Farmers’ Protest: Opposition Leaders Reach Jantar Mantar

In a display of solidarity with the farmers, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and other Opposition leaders reached Jantar Mantar, against the Centre's three contentious farm laws and raised slogans with a placard 'Save Farmers, Save India'.

However, TMC, BSP and AAP are not participating in the Opposition's protest.

Earlier, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP Sushil Kumar Gupta was quoted as saying, “AAP will join Opposition parties' protest led by Rajya Sabha LoP Mallikarjun Kharge to support farmers. If the Opposition's protest is led by a party leader like Rahul Gandhi, then, why would we go? He hasn't been successful in raising farmers' issues.”

Several Opposition parties planned to corner the government over the issues of Pegasus reports, farm laws, and inflation amid days of logjam in both Houses of Parliament, which have mostly seen suspensions without much business being conducted in the Monsoon Session.

Lakshadweep

Additionally, Holding a protest in front of Mahatma Gandhi statue in Parliament, Kerala's Left MPs and Congress MPs demanded the withdrawal of Lakshadweep Chief Administrator Praful K Patel.

(With inputs from ANI)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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