Sunday, April 2, 2023

Finance Act, 2023 enacted and notified without discussion in Parliament

The Finance Act, 2023, an Act to give effect to the financial proposals of the Central Government for the financial year 2023-2024 has been enacted and notified subsequent to the assent of the President on  March 31, 2023. This 105 page long law has eight parts, 174 sections and five schedules. Its sections 2 to 127 has come into force from April 1, 2023 and its sections 128 to 163 shall come into force on such date as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint. 

This law amends/inserts provisions under sections 2, 9, 10, 10AA, 11, 12A, 12AB, 17, 28, 35D, 43B, 43D, 44AB, 44AD, 44ADA, 44BB, 44BBB, 45, 47, 48, 49, 50AA, 54, 54EA, 54EB, 54EC, 54ED, 54EF, 55, 56, 72A, 72AA, 79, 80C, 80CCC, 80CCD, 80CCG, 80CCH, 80G, 80-IAC, 80LA, 87, 87A, 88, 92BA, 92D, 94B, 111A, 112, 115A, 115BAC, 115BAD, 115BB, 115BBI, 115JC, 115JD, 115TD, 115UA, 115UB, 115VP, 116, 119, 131, 132, 133, 134, 135A, 140B, 142, 148, 149, 151, 153, 154, 155, 158A, 158AB, 170A, 177, 189, 192A, 193, 194B, 194BA, 194BB, 194LC, 194N, 194R, 196A, 197, 206AB, 206C, 206CC, 206CCA, 241A, 244A, 245, 245D, 245MA, 245R, 246, 249, 250, 251, 253, 264, 267, 269SS, 269T, 270A, 270AA, 271, 271A, 271AAC, 271AAD, 271C, 271FAA, 271J, 274, 275, 276A, 276B, 279, 287 and 295 of the Income-tax Act, 1961.   

This law amends/inserts provisions under sections 25, 65, 65A, 127C, 157 and 159 of the Customs Act, 1962. 

The Finance Act, 2023 amends/inserts provisions under sections 9, 9A and 9C and Fist Schedule and Second Schedule of the Customs Tariff Act, 1975. 

This law amends/inserts provisions under sections 10, 16, 17, 23, 30, 37, 39, 44, 52, 54, 56, 62, 109, 110, 114, 117, 118, 119, 122, 132, 138 and 158 and Schedule III Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017. 

This law amends/inserts provisions under sections 2, 12 and 13 of the Integrated Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017. 

The Finance Act, 2023 amends/inserts provisions under the Schedule to the Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Act, 2017. 

This law amends/inserts sections 4A and 15 and Schedule in Part A of the Government Savings Promotion Act, 1873. In the Schedule, in Part A, for serial numbers 7 and 8 and the entries relating thereto, the following shall be substituted, namely:— "7. Public Provident Fund Scheme, 8. National Savings Certificates (VIII Issue) Scheme, 2019, 9. Kisan Vikas Patra Scheme, 2019 and 10. PM CARES for Children Scheme, 2021".

In the Indian Stamp Act, 1899, in Schedule I, in article 47, in division D, under the heading "Exemption", for the portion beginning with "Policies of life-insurance" and ending with "authority of the Central Government.", the following shall be substituted, namely:— "Policies of life insurance— (a) granted by the Director-General of Post Offices in accordance with the rules for Postal Life-Insurance issued under the authority of the Central Government; and (b) under the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY)."

In the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act, 1956, in section 18A, after clause (b), the following clause shall be inserted, namely:— '(ba) regulated by the International Financial Services Centres Authority established under section 4 of the International Financial Services Centres Authority Act, 2019, in an International Financial Services Centre and issued by a Foreign Portfolio Investor. Explanation.—For the purposes of this clause, the expression "Foreign Portfolio Investor" shall have the meaning assigned to it in clause (u) of rule 2 of the Foreign Exchange Management (Non-debt Instruments) Rules, 2019 made under section 46 of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999;'.

In the Central Sales Tax Act,1956, for section 19, the following section shall be substituted, namely:— "19. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this Act or in any other law for the time being in force, the Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal constituted under section 129 of the Customs Act, 1962 shall be the Authority under this Act to settle inter-State disputes falling under sections 6A and 9." Section 24 of Central Sales Tax Act has been omitted and its Section 25 has been amended. 

Besides these the Finance Act, 2023 amends/inserts provisions in sections 2 and 46 the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988. In the Finance Act, 2001, the Seventh Schedule shall be amended in the manner specified in the Sixth Schedule of the 2023 law. It amends section 98 of the Finance Act, 2004. It also amends sections 8 and 13 of the the Unit Trust of India (Transfer of Undertaking and Repeal) Act, 2002.

The Lok Sabha had passed the Finance Bill 2023 without discussion with over 60 amendments to the Bill, which was initially introduced in the Lok Sabha on February 1, 2023. These amendments include changes related to IFSC, capital gains, TDS/TCS, Securities Transaction Tax (STT) and GST Appellate Tribunal.



Saturday, April 1, 2023

Rs 99,178 crore may not have reached beneficiaries in Bihar: CAG

Bihar State Finances Audit Report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India for the year ending 31st March 2022 (Report No.1 of the year 2023) reveals that 23, 188 Utilisation Certificates (UCs) valued at the expenditure of Rs 99,178 crore from 2021 to 2022 by the several departments remained outstanding till March 31 last year. 

The UCs of expenditure of Rs 99,178 crore of grants-in-aid made by the state government has not been submitted. In its report, CAG has observed that "in case of non-submission of the UCs, there is a risk that the amount mentioned in finance accounts may not have reached the beneficiaries."

The CAG report was tabled in the state assembly on March 31, 2023. The report was tabled by Vijay Kumar Choudhary, Bihar Finance Minister. 

According to the CAG report, “During the year 2021-223, 23,188 UCs of various projects and schemes (amounting Rs 99,178 crore), which had become due (drawn up to August 31, 2020) for submission, were not submitted by the bodies and authorities of the state against the grants-in-aid”.

The report further said, “Therefore, there was no assurance that the amount of Rs 99,178 crore had actually been utilized, for the purpose for which it was sanctioned/authorized by the Legislature. High pendency of UCs is fraught with risk of misappropriation of funds and fraud. The major defaulting departments were Panchayati Raj (Rs 34,707.48 crore), Education (Rs 25,867.47 crore) and Urban Development department (Rs 11,092.7 crore).” 

Responding to the CAGs report, Bihar Finance minister has asked all heads of departments to submit UCs within the stipulated time. Rule 271 of the Bihar Treasury Code (211) states that UCs in respect of grants-in-aid received by the grantee must be furnished by the grantee to the authority that sanctioned it, within 18 months from the date of receipt of grant or before applying for a further grant on the same subject.