If you have been following the news, the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2023, (DPDP Bill), was passed by the Rajya Sabha on August 9 with a voice vote. When it was tabled in the Lok Sabha, what caught the attention of the press was the debate on whether the bill was a finance bill or a money bill. Some house members actually got confused about the nature of the bill!
Now, what is a finance or a money bill? How is it passed, and what does it do?
Well, we explore them for you in an easy-to-understand manner. Let’s dive right in!
What is a finance bill?
A finance bill, in simpler terms, spills the beans on how much money the Government of India is planning to spend and where it’s going. We’re talking about new taxes, government spending, and borrowing, revenues, inflation etc. The Union Budget, which is like the big financial plan for the year, is actually enacted as a finance bill.
So, what’s the importance of a finance bill? Well, it is a big deal for Indian policies and governance. Besides, it’s not just about money though; it also includes issues like tax relief, inflation, and interest rates. The Government had earlier used finance bills to enact important acts like the Right of Citizens Act, Company Law Amendment Act, and the First Information Report Act.
Now there are three types of financial bills –
- The Money Bill
- Finance Bill Category A (also known as Finance Bill 1) and
- Finance Bill Category B (also known as Finance Bill 2)
Finance Bill 1 covers Article 110 and some other affairs of general legislation. This bill requires the President to propose it. On the other hand, Finance Bill 2 is all about spending money from the Consolidated Fund of India – just not the Article 110 related provisions and can be introduced either by the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha.
Okay, so then what’s the money bill? Let’s find out!
What is a money bill?
A money bill is a type of finance bill, but it can only cover the provisions listed in Article 110(1)(a) to (g). It primarily deals with the appropriation of money from the consolidated fund of India.
Now, here’s the scoop on money bills: they’re a special type of act that is introduced only in the Lok Sabha. The Lok Sabha speaker gets to decide if a bill is a money bill or not. Do note that every bill that goes through the Parliament must be either about money (like these money bills) or spending money (they call those appropriation bills).
You might wonder why these money bills matter so much. Well, the Indian Parliament has been using them for ages to give the green light to government spending. Imagine it’s like the thumbs-up for where and how the government can use its funds.
How are money and finance bills passed in the Parliament?
For any bill to become an act, it needs a thumbs-up from both sides of the Parliament – that’s the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. A finance bill is no different and needs a nod from both houses. And since it’s juggling a bunch of different topics from various ministries and departments, it takes its sweet time getting approved.
Now, Article 109 is like the rulebook for passing the money bills, giving the Lok Sabha the power to green-light them. Also, it only rolls only in one court, the Lok Sabha’s.
Picture it as this: A money bill originates in the Lok Sabha, while a finance bill can strut its stuff in either house. Any member can drop a finance bill, but for money bills, as mentioned above, only the Speaker of the Lok Sabha gets to decide if it’s the real deal.
The Rajya Sabha doesn’t have much power when it comes to passing money bills. Those bills can only kick off in the Lok Sabha. Once they’re good to go there, they get sent over to the Rajya Sabha for suggestions. This has to happen within 14 days. But with the finance bill, it’s a level playing field – both houses need to give it a thumbs-up before it can go live as an act.
Also, remember this – A money bill struts into the Lok Sabha and gets a final pat on the back from the President. But for the finance bill, it’s all official business – it can’t move forward without a green light from both houses and the President. So, while the money bill has its groove, the finance bill has a bit more red tape to shuffle through.
Also, it’s important to remember that, unlike money bills, the Rajya Sabha can have a say in finance bills. They can reject them or make changes.
Finance and money bills have different purposes, but one cannot negate the importance of one for another. Their difference also lies in matters such as who can introduce it, what houses can pass it, and whose approval is final. Remember, both these bills are important pillars in shaping the country’s future.