Rajya Sabha passes Finance Bill with 5 opposition amendments

Ina major embarrassment to the ruling BJP, the Rajya Sabha today passed the Finance Bill presented by finance minister Arun Jaitley after adopting various amendments proposed by opposition members.

Rajya Sabha passed the Finance Bill 2017 after adopting five opposition amendments - three moved by Congress member Digvijaya Singh and two by Sitaram Yechury of the CPI (M).

The amendments were adopted with a significant margin, with the difference of votes ranging between 27 and 34 votes.

Trinamool Congress, which has 10 members, staged a walkout before the voting in the House where the ruling NDA is in a minority. In the 245-member House, the BJP has 56 members while the NDA jointly has 74 members.

Earlier, while replying to the debate, Jaitley strongly defended the government's move to make Aadhaar compulsory for access to various benefits, saying it was necessary to check frauds, including tax evasion.

He also admitted that Aadhaar was a ''great initiative'' of the previous UPA government and said the NDA dispensation is expanding it.

''Earlier, some of us had doubts over Aadhaar...Some of your people (in Congress) also had doubts. Later, a presentation was made to the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) where the doubts were cleared,'' Jaitley said.

"As far as benefits are concerned, you can produce Aadhar. If you don't have one, you can produce other ID and simultaneously apply for it," said Arun Jaitley.

He further said that the Government will issue electoral bonds.

"There are lot of wild information going around over the authority of assessment officers over search and seizure," added Jaitley.

"Let me clarify this under section 132, a satisfaction note must be submitted before search and entering premise and that has to be submitted in the court," he added while notifying that the Finance Bill protects the source of information for tax evasion.

Earlier on Wednesday, Arun Jaitley moved four Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bills for consideration and passage in the Lok Sabha, which then took them up for discussion. The Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) Bill, 2017, along with three other GST Bills were moved for consideration in the lower house.