1 Mar 2011

New laws on the anvil: The Budget proposals

The annual ritual of the Government of India presenting its plans and outlook for the upcoming Fiscal Year took place on the 28th of last month, with the Finance Minster delivering his Speech and presenting in the Parliament the Budget for the Year 2011-12. While we are deviating four our stand on earlier Budgets, wherein we put-forth in a pre-budget predictive exercise, our proposals and aspirations from the Budget, we have undertaken an extensive review of the Finance Minister's speech and other documents to bring forth to our readers the changes proposed in the legal scenario of the country.

The Finance Minster, presenting his outlook for the upcoming year, has presented and offered a number of new legislations and also proposed amendments in the earlier ones. In a brief note, we have captured these in the following bullets;
  1. Public Debt Management Agency of India Bill - scheduled for the next Financial Year - as an independent Debt Management Office in the Finance Ministry;
  2. A Constitutional Amendment for introduction of comprehensive Goods and Service Tax and the draft legislation thereon;
  3. Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill - a new revised Bill - as a part of Financial Sector Reforms;
  4. Factoring and Assignment of Receivables Bill - as a part of Financial Sector Reforms;
  5. The Companies Bill - received from the Parliamentary Standing Committee;
  6. National Food Security Bill - guaranteeing food security for all citizens.
Further, amendments have been proposed in a number of existing laws, namely;
  1. Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, 2003 - laying down the fiscal road map for the next five years;
  2. Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill;
  3. Life Insurance Corporation (Amendment) Bill;
  4. Banking Laws Amendment Bill;
  5. State Bank of India (Subsidiary Banks Laws) Amendment Bill;
  6. Recovery of Debt for Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993;
  7. Securitization, Asset Reconstruction and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002;
  8. Indian Stamps Act, 1899.
The Budget speech has also proposed the for the constitution of the following committees, which we envisage into resulting into further legislations;
  1. Task Force on system of direct transfer of subsidy for kerosene, LPG and fertilisers;
  2. Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission;
  3. Group of Ministers for reconciliation of environmental concerns.
We can only hope that the promises and assurances of the Minister are carried out in spirit, such that the legal structure receives the requires reforms at the earliest. 

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