- Explain the significance of the 101st Constitutional Amendment Act. To what extent does it reflect the accommodative spirit of federalism? (15)
- Explain the structure of the Parliamentary Committee system. How far have the financial committees helped in the institutionalization of the Indian parliament? (15)
1. Explain the significance of the 101st Constitutional Amendment Act. To what extent does it reflect the accommodative spirit of federalism? (15)
Core Demand: Enumerate the importance of the 101st Constitutional Amendment Act i.e the GST Act. Discuss the extent to which it ensures federalism.
- Contextual- The 101st Constitutional Amendment Act of India is significant in fostering federalism as it empowers state governments to impose Goods and Services Tax and reshapes the taxation landscape.
- Definition based- The 101st Constitutional Amendment Act was passed to bring in Goods and Services Tax which replaced all the previous indirect taxes levied on goods and services across the country.
The significance of the 101st Constitutional Amendment Act is manifold and includes-
- Harmonization of taxes by simplifying complex indirect tax structures.
- Less tax evasion by use of the GST Network.
- GST has established a common market by ensuring free flow of goods and services to bring in economic integration.
- Gross GST revenue collection in June 2023 was Rs 1,61,497 crore, registering a 12 per cent year-on-year increase.
- Revenue sharing to promote fiscal autonomy.
- Ease in form submission and tax payment due to online payment gateways.
The 101st Constitutional Amendment Act reflects accommodative spirit of federalism in the following ways-
- GST is a dual taxation system i.e both Central GST and State GST are included which ensures each government independently levies and collects taxes.
- Formation of GST Council under article 279A which has representatives from the centre and states and decision making is done by 3/4th majority.
- Barriers to interstate trade like octroi and entry tax are eliminated.
- Seamless movement of goods and services across state borders by use of Input Tax Credit.
- Decision on revenue sharing is also taken by the GST Council.
- Interstate tax competition for attracting businesses is reduced by harmonizing tax rates.
- While the 101st Constitutional Amendment Act has largely been successful in many fronts, it needs to be improved further by better dispute resolution, ease of implementation, training and capacity building and improved feedback mechanism.
- GST 2.0 is an idea gaining momentum in recent times with many recommendations which can be accepted like CGST pool can be made fungible across states to free the accumulated ITC, and allowing conversion of accumulated ITC into tradable scrips.
2. Explain the structure of the Parliamentary Committee system. How far have the financial committees helped in the institutionalization of the Indian parliament? 15
Core Demand: Discuss the structure of Parliamentary Committee system in general and role of financial committees in institutionalizing the Indian parliament in particular.
- Definition based- Parliamentary committee is a British concept, which consists of the Members of Parliament, elected or appointed from amongst the members of the house or nominated by the Speaker or the Chairman.
- Parliamentary committees, viz Standing Committees and Ad Hoc Committees, comprise members of Parliament and draw their authority from the Indian Constitution under articles 105 and 118.
Structure wise, the parliamentary committees in India are of two kinds- standing committees and ad hoc committees.
- Standing committees- These are permanent in nature and are constituted by the Parliament for areas like public policy and administration. They are constituted at the beginning of each session of Parliament and have a tenure of the whole session. Some of them are Estimates Committee, Public Accounts Committee
and Committee on Public Undertakings.
- Ad hoc committees are temporary in nature and are formed for a specific purpose and limited time. They usually consider and report on a specific bill or to inquire into a particular matter of public importance. Once their work is done, they are dissolved. According to their nature of work, they are of two types- inquiry committees and advisory committees.
Role of financial committees in the institutionalization of the Indian Parliament
- Non-partisan action because the leader of the largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha is the Chairperson of the PAC.
- The PAC criticizes the inefficient public expenditure of the Government which creates public opinion and awareness.
- Ensures better allocation of public funds like in case of NPAs no 2018.
- Financial accountability of the executive is ensured by the Public Accounts Committee.
- Neutral and consensus based reports are adopted by PAC..
- Examines performance of PSUs.
- There is a need to further strengthen the parliamentary committees by taking measures like more independence, enhanced participation of all parties and more resources.
- To improve the quality of governance, scrutiny of significant bills is important to uphold the quality of legislation and prevent unnecessary logjams which was seen in the recently passed farm bills.