Facing flak from opposition over demonetisation, the central government on Thursday sought to turn tables in the Lok Sabha by daring Congress to spell out a single decision it had taken against black money when it was in power for 10 years.
"I today challenge them (Congress) to spell out a single step that they had taken during 10-year of their rule against black money," Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said while replying to a short discussion on second batch of Supplementary Demand for Grants which was subsequently passed by the House amid din.
Refuting the allegation that government has given additional route to people to convert black money into white by paying 50 per cent tax, Jaitley said the effective liability on them would be about 65 per cent, much higher than 8 per cent under the Voluntary Disclosure of Income Scheme (VDIS) of 1997.
"It is not just 50 per cent. Out of remaining 50 per cent, 25 per cent would be kept by government for four years. If you calculate interest on that, the effective tax comes out to be 65 per cent," he said.
As per the amendment to the Income Tax Act which is pending in the Rajya Sabha, the unaccounted income declared by black money holders during the 50-day window ending December 30 would attract tax and penalty of 50 per cent while the remaining 25 per cent of such income would have to be deposited with government for four years.
The Supplementary Demand for Grants and related Bills, which were approved by the lower house, authorise government to increase public expenditure by about Rs 60,000 crore though the additional cash outgo would be only Rs 36,000 crore.
As far as extra expenditure is concerned, Jaitley said MNREGA will get additional Rs 4,000 crore and the total expenditure during the fiscal would go up to Rs 47,000 crore for the scheme.
"Although Congress made promises but they never made so much expenditure on the scheme," the Finance Minister said, adding, during the UPA regime the actual expenditure used to be much less than what was mentioned in the Budget.
He further said the plan expenditure during the current fiscal would go up to Rs 5.95 lakh crore from 5.5 lakh crore mentioned in the Budget estimates.
The Finance Minister said India was considered as one of the five "fragile" economies in the world two-and-a-half years ago. "Today India has become a bright spot in the global economy. India is set to become the fastest growing large economy of the world in third year in a row," he added.
As regards demonetisation, he expressed the hope that situation would normalise by the end of this month and every effort is being made to minimise the hardship of the people who had stand in long queue to get valid currency.
"I should clarify that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that we will normalise the situation by December 30. We will try and minimise the hardship faced by the people. Every day RBI put money into the system. Efforts are being made to towards less cash economy and digital economy," he said.
During the short debate which was conducted amidst din created by members of Congress, Trinamool and some other opposition parties, several members including Kirit Somaya (BJP), Jayadev Galla (TDP) and Dushyant Chautala (INLD) spoke on Supplimentary Demand for Grants.
After the Supplementary Demands for Grant was approved by the Lok Sabha, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar appealed to the opposition to shun its protest and agree to a debate on demonetisation under Rule 193 which does not entail voting.
He accused the Opposition of running away from the debate by continuing the protest.
The Opposition members, meanwhile, continued to shout slogans against against government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding debate under Rule 184 which entails voting.
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan then adjourned the House for the day.
(With PTI inputs)