• The Congress has written to Lok Sabha Speaker, urging him not to bypass the Rajya Sabha by declaring seven key Bills, including one on the privatization of two public sector banks, as money Bills.
• The Rajya Sabha has limited powers to legislate on a money Bill.
• The Lok Sabha is free to accept or reject amendments made by the Rajya Sabha on a money Bill.
What is a Money Bill?
• A money bill is defined by Article 110 of the Constitution, as a draft law that contains only provisions that deal with all or any of the matters listed therein.
• These comprise a set of seven features, broadly including items such as the imposition or regulation of a tax; the regulation of the borrowing of money by the Government of India; the withdrawal of money from the Consolidated Fund of India; and so forth.
• In the event proposed legislation contains other features, ones that are not merely incidental to the items specifically outlined, such a draft law cannot be classified as a money bill.
• Article 110 further clarifies that in cases where a dispute arises over whether a bill is a money bill or not, the Lok Sabha Speaker decision on the issue shall be considered final.
Difference between a Money Bill and the Finance Bill
• A Money Bill has to be introduced in the Lok Sabha as per Section 110 of the Constitution.
• Then, it is transmitted to the Rajya Sabha for its recommendations.
• The Rajya Sabha has to return the Bill with recommendations in 14 days.
• However, the Lok Sabha can reject all or some of the recommendations.
• In the case of a Finance Bill, Article 117 of the Constitution categorically lays down that a Bill about sub-clauses (a) to (f) of clause (1) shall not be introduced or moved except with the President recommendation.
• Also, a Bill that makes such provisions shall not be introduced in the Rajya Sabha.
Why Finance Bill is needed?
• The Union Budget proposes many tax changes for the upcoming financial year, even if not all of those proposed changes find a mention in the Finance Minister Budget speech.
• These proposed changes pertain to several existing laws dealing with various taxes in the country.
• The Finance Bill seeks to insert amendments into all those laws concerned, without having to bring out a separate amendment law for each of those Acts.
• For instance, a Union Budget proposed tax changes may require amending the various sections of the Income Tax law, Stamp Act, Money Laundering law, etc.
• The Finance Bill overrides and makes changes in the existing laws wherever required.
What changes can be made via Finance Bill?
• The most awaited changes in the tax proposals in the Union Budget usually pertain to personal income tax.
• For taxpayers across the country, the most awaited moment is when the Finance Minister speech announces an increase in minimum income threshold or declares any changes in income tax slabs to make it less costly, or other exemptions.
• Also, there might be changes in the rules, procedures, deadlines for filing tax returns, or the payment of the tax itself.
• For instance, there might be a change in the amount of penalty for missing the deadline.
• Those proposed changes would typically need to be brought in via amending the Income Tax Act.
• Among other changes, the Finance Minister may propose in the Union Budget concerning the rates or processes for payment or administration of stamp duty levied on various instruments.
• Such a change would need to be brought in via an amendment to the Stamp Act.
• Since the introduction of GST, there is no amendment to indirect taxes in the Union Budget, since that is under the purview of the GST Council.
• The Nagaland Assembly has formed a seven-member drafting committee on the Naga political issue that has been hanging fire for more than two decades.
• After decades of armed extremism, peace dawned on Nagaland in 1997 after the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland, or NSCN (IM), declared a ceasefire.
• Several rounds of talks have, however, failed to yield a solution to the political problem, apart from the August 2015 Framework Agreement between the Centre and the NSCN (IM) and the November 2017 Agreed Position between the Centre and the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs).
How old is the Naga political issue?
• The British annexed Assam in 1826, and in 1881, the Naga Hills too became part of British India.
• The first sign of Naga resistance was seen in the formation of the Naga Club in 1918, which told the Simon Commission in 1929 “to leave us alone to determine for ourselves as in ancient times”.
• In 1946 came the Naga National Council (NNC), which declared Nagaland an independent state on August 14, 1947.
• The NNC resolved to establish a “sovereign Naga state” and conducted a “referendum” in 1951, in which “99 percent” supported an “independent” Nagaland.
• On March 22, 1952, the underground Naga Federal Government (NFG) and the Naga Federal Army (NFA) were formed. The Government of India sent in the Army to crush the insurgency and, in 1958, enacted the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.
The Naga Issue:
• The key demand of Naga groups has been a Greater Nagalim (sovereign statehood) i.e redrawing of boundaries to bring all Naga-inhabited areas in the Northeast under one administrative umbrella.
• It includes various parts of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Assam, and Myanmar as well.
• The demand also includes the separate Naga Yezabo (Constitution) and Naga national flag.
• The Nagas are not a single tribe, but an ethnic community that comprises several tribes who live in the state of Nagaland and its neighborhood.
• Nagas belong to Indo-Mongoloid Family.
• Nagas claimed sovereignty based on prior sovereign existence and differences, which is today expressed in terms of “uniqueness”.
• There are nineteen major Naga tribes.
• U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that his country would pay the World Health Organization (WHO) $200 million by the end of this month.
• The announcement is significant as former U.S. President Donald Trump had begun the process of withdrawing the U.S. from the WHO
• This process has been stopped by his successor, President Joe Biden.
Need for and significance of the move:
• The U.S. said it believes that multilateralism, the United Nations, the World Health Organization, are essential not just as an effective international COVID-19 health and humanitarian response but also building stronger global health capacity and security for the future.
How is the WHO funded?
• There are four kinds of contributions that make up funding for the WHO. These are:
• Assessed contributions are the dues countries pay to be a member of the Organization.
• The amount each Member State must pay is calculated relative to the country wealth and population.
• Voluntary contributions come from Member States (in addition to their assessed contribution) or other partners.
• They can range from flexible to highly earmarked.
• Core voluntary contributions allow less well-funded activities to benefit from a better flow of resources and ease implementation bottlenecks that arise when immediate financing is lacking.
• Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (PIP) Contributions were started in 2011.
World Health Organization:
• WHO is the United Nations specialized agency for Health and it was founded in 1948.
• Its headquarters are situated in Geneva, Switzerland.
• There are 194 Member States, 150 country offices, six regional offices.
• It is an inter-governmental organization and works in collaboration with its member states usually through the Ministries of Health.
• The WHO provides leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries, and monitoring and assessing health trends.
• It began functioning on April 7, 1948 – a date now being celebrated every year as World Health Day.
• It acts as the directing and coordinating authority on international health work.
• It assists the Governments, upon request, in strengthening health services.
• It promotes cooperation among scientific and professional groups which contribute to the advancement of health.