Govt promoting crony capitalism: Oppn in RS

Govt promoting crony capitalism: Oppn in RS
The Opposition on Monday charged the government with trying to promote crony capitalism, creating fear by giving "unbridled power" to taxmen, trying to snoop into people's lives through increased use of Aadhaar through the provisions of the Finance Bill.

Opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha, including the Congress, SP, BSP and the Left, lambasted the government for not making enough provisions for creation of jobs through the rural employment guarantee scheme or to have farm loan waivers to check the growing number of farmers' suicide.

Initiating a discussion on the 2017 Finance Bill, Congress leader Kapil Sibal lashed out at the government claiming it had failed to generate jobs or provide support to farmers and its 'jumlas' and promises have remained hollow. He also questioned the move to use Aadhaar for filing tax returns, saying it amounted to snooping into people's lives and the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister had earlier raised concern over the use of the unique identity number when the BJP was in opposition.

Taking a dig at the BJP-led dispensation, he said some people in this government may have "the experience in snooping" and added that this also showed BJP's "double talk".

For the government, development only means the development of its "communal agenda", Sibal claimed, adding that he saw at least "six disturbing trends" which reflected the mindset of this government.

Referring to crony capitalism, the Congress leader said the government has done away with the cap on contributions that companies could make to political parties.

"Now these companies don't even need to disclose this amount or the identity of the beneficiary even to their shareholders," he said, claiming that these provisions were included to ensure that the party in power gets unabated funding for national, state or even civic elections.

Observing that there were several companies competing for contracts against which there are proceedings or which need restructuring, Sibal alleged that the government's motive was "merely to see that they contribute to the kitty of the ruling party."

"You are playing with the economic fabric of the country and you talk about transparency," he asserted.

Alleging that a provision to amend the Companies Act was "surreptiously brought in the garb of the Finance Bill", he said this was done by the government so that the Rajya Sabha, where it does not have a majority, will not be able to object to it. This amounts to "muffling the voice" of the Upper House, Sibal said.


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