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Expansion of Sikkimese term as per Finance Act 2023: Stiff all round opposition, black badge campaign begins

First Published: 2nd April, 2023 9:47 IST

The pressure groups, opposition parties and the people have started a Black Badge campaign in social media.It may be mentioned here that various groups are unhappy over the expansion of

Pressure groups, opposition political parties and the common people came together to express their sheer against the expansion of the in the Finance Bill 2023 that has now become an Act after it recieved the President’s assent.

The pressure groups, opposition parties and the people have started a Black Badge campaign in social media.

It may be mentioned here that various groups are unhappy over the expansion of the Sikkimese term as per the amendments made to the Finance Bill 2023, which was passed by Lok Sabha on March 26.

As per the amendments two new categories have been included in the classification of Sikkimese under Section 10 of 26AAA of the Finance Act.

They are:
I) Any other individual, whose name does not appear in the Register of Sikkim Subjects but it is established that such individual was domiciled in Sikkim on or before the 26th day of April, 1975;
II) any other individual, who was not donmiciled in Sikkim on or before the 26th day of April, 1975, but it is established beyond doubt that such individual’s father or husband or paternal grand-father or brother from the same father was domiciled in Sikkim on or before the 26th day of April, 1975.

The definition of the Sikkimese people as per the amendment has been dubbed as an attack on Article 371F which safeguards the rights of the Sikkimese people. It has also been said that expansion of the Sikkimese definition in the Finance Bill (now an Act) has diluted the essence of Article 371F, which is often dubbed as a protective shield for the people of Sikkim. Critics have also pointed out that expansion of the Sikkimese term in the Clause V of the Finance Act, has paved the way for many scams to get tax exemption by people who may not even necessarily be of Sikkimese origin.

The Joint Action Council on Saturday (yesterday) had said that it would take to the streets opposing the expansion of the ‘Sikkimese’ term definition in Section 10 of the Income Tax Act 1961 under the Finance Act.

Meanwhile, the Joint Action Council has called for a rally on April 8 at Singtam regarding concerns over the expansion of ‘Sikkimese’ term definition in Section 10 of the Income Tax Act 1961 under the Finance Act 2023. JAC leaders had maintained that while some sections were stating that it (the Act) is only related to income tax exemption, but according to the pressure group it is a fact that identity of the indigenous as ‘Sikkimese’ has been violated.

It may be mentioned that Sikkim Chief Minister PS Tamang had taken to social media for informing the people that a special session of the Sikkim Legislative Assembly would be held on April 10 2023.
The Sikkim Chief Minister’s announcement comes amid concerns regarding’dilution’ of Sikkimese term in the Finance Act, 2023.

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