Bills and Acts Current Affairs - 2019

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Lok Sabha clears Taxation (Amendment) bill, 2019

On December 2, 2019, Lok Sabha passed the Taxation Laws (Amendment) bill, 2019. The main objective of the bill is to provide an option for the domestic companies to pay taxes at the rate of 22%.

Key Features

The bill replaced the ordinance promulgated by the President in September 2019. The ordinance reduced corporate taxes. The bill aims to amend both Income Tax Act, 1961 and Finance Act, 2019.

The bill provides the domestic companies to pay taxes at the rate of 22%. However, this can be availed only if the companies are not claiming deductions under the Income Tax act. Currently, the companies with annual turn over of Rs 400 crores are paying taxes at the rate of 25% and the companies with annual turn over more than Rs 400 crores are paying taxes at the rate of 30%.

Concessions are provided to those companies that were started after September 30, 2019 and begins manufacturing before April 1, 2023. They can pay taxes at the rate of 15% provided they do not claim deductions from other laws and rules

The companies opting for the new tax rates need not pay Minimum Alternate Taxes (MAT).

Background

The main aim of the bill is to promote growth and investment in domestic manufacturing sector. In order to pull up the economy of the country the Union Government also reduced the corporate tax rates up to 10%. It was the biggest reduction in the last 28 years.

Parliament passes Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019

Parliament has passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2019 with the Rajya Sabha approving it by a voice vote on 26 November 2019. The bill was already passed by the 17th Lok Sabha on 5 August 2019. The bill now awaits Presidential assent, after which it will become a law.

Key Provisions of Bill

The Bill defines a transgender as- ‘a person whose gender does not match the gender assigned at birth’. It provides recognition of identity of Transgender Persons and to confer upon them right to self-perceived gender identity.

It provides every transgender person a Right of Residence with parents and immediate family members and be included in his household.

It prohibits discrimination against a transgender person including unfair treatment/ denial of service- in employment, educational institutions, enjoyment of goods, healthcare services, other facilities, opportunities available to public, right to reside/ movement among others. This implies that no government/private entity can discriminate against a transgender person in matters related to employment including recruitment and promotion.

It criminalizes denial of services or denial of use of public places to transgender persons and removal of transgenders from a village or a household.

A grievance redressal mechanism has been set up for the issues related to transgender under which National Council for Transgender Persons (NCTP) will advise, monitor and evaluate measures for the protection of their rights.

It provides for formulation of welfare schemes and programmes for education, social security and health of Transgender Persons.

Benefit of Bill

It will make all stakeholders responsive and accountable for upholding principles underlying the Bill and will also bring greater accountability on part of Central Government and State Governments/Union Territories (UTs) Administrations for issues concerning Transgender persons.

It will benefit a large number of transgender persons in mitigating the abuse, stigma and discrimination against this marginalized section so as to bring them into the mainstream of society. It will also lead to greater inclusiveness and will make the transgender persons productive members of society.

Way Forward

As per the present bill, the punishment for sexual abuses of transgenders is 6 months to 2 years, however, many agree that the duration of punishment must be increased for sexual abuses. Moreover, the legislation does not have adequate penal provisions on discrimination against transgender, and the definition of transgenders is also being seemed controversial.