After Rajya Sabha forces amendments, Arun Jaitley to bring Finance Bill 2017 back to Lok Sabha

Opposition MPs in Rajya Sabha moved five amendments to the controversial Finance Bill during yesterday's discussion.

After facing an embarrassing situation in the Rajya Sabha, where Opposition party MPs forced in five amendments to the Finance Bill 2017, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is set to bring the draft act back to the Lok Sabha today.

Congress's Digvijaya Singh was responsible for moving three of the amendments, while Sitaram Yechury of CPI(M) moved another two. The amendments were adopted with a significant margin, with the difference of votes ranging between 27 and 34 votes.

In the 245-member Rajya Sabha, the BJP has 56 seats while the NDA combine has 74 seats.

The original Finance Bill draft, which was passed by the Lok Sabha last week, included as many as 40 ammendments. Since it was passed as a Money Bill, the Rajya Sabha's move to amend the bill won't carry much weight if the Lok Sabha, where the Narendra Modi government has a majority, rejects the additions.

Opposition parties, especially the Congress, have been vocal in their criticism of the manner in which the bill was passed in the lower house.

Earlier yesterday, Arun Jaitley addressed the issue of Aadhaar and privacy protections, concerns over which have been raised in Parliament and on social media.

To Congress's P Chidambaram questioning if the government could guarantee that Aadhaar details would not leak, Jaitley said, "If the firewalls can be broken and hacking can take place, the hacking can take place anywhere," adding "Hacking does not take place because of Aadhaar".

He went on to admit that Aadhaar was a great initiative of the UPA government.

OTHER ORDER OF BUSINESS TODAY

The Footwear Design and Development Institute Bill, 2017, and Repealing and Amending Bill, 2017 is scheduled to come up for consideration and passage in the Lower House today.

In Rajya Sabha, Appropriation Railways Bill, 2017 and Appropriation Railways Number 2 Bill, 2017 will also be taken up for consideration and return.

Health Minister JP Nadda will move the amendments made by Lok Sabha in the Mental Healthcare Bill, 2016, for consideration in the Upper House.

(With agency inputs)

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