LS passes budget without debate; both Houses adjourn amid din
New Delhi, Mar 14 :The Lok Sabha today passed the crucial Finance Bill 2018 and a Rs 89.25 lakh crore spending plan for the next fiscal year without discussion amid ruckus, which led to the adjournment of both the Houses of Parliament for the eighth day.
The Finance Bill as well as the Appropriation Bill were passed in a matter of 25 minutes during which opposition parties and ruling NDA ally TDP shouted slogans and created a din. The Lower House was adjourned for the day immediately thereafter.
The opposition parties protested against the passage of the budget without debate, as the session is slated to continue till April 6.
The Rajya Sabha, which was informed of the passage of the budget by the Lok Sabha at 2 PM, was also adjourned for the day within about three minutes thereafter.
In the Lok Sabha, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley moved 21 amendments to the Bill containing taxation proposals for 2018-19, which were approved by voice vote. So was the Appropriation Bill which detailed spending plans for 99 government ministries and departments.
With this, the parliamentary approval for the Modi government’s fifth and final budget was completed in the Lok Sabha, where the ruling BJP-led NDA enjoys absolute majority. Earlier this week, the BJP had issued a three-day whip to its members to be present in the House.
As slogan-shouting began soon after the House assembled, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan accepted Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar’s proposal for advancing the time of the passage of the Finance and other bills, scheduled in the agenda at 5 PM, to noon.
Thereafter she adjourned the House till 12 PM as members of the opposition and TDP and AIADMK raised slogans on various issues including against the passage of the budget without debate, the Rs 12,700 crore banking scam, special status to Andhra Pradesh and setting up of Cauvery Management Board for river water sharing by riparian states.
Neither the Lok Sabha, nor the Rajya Sabha have transacted any substantial business in the past eight days since the second leg of the budget session began on March 5.
After passage of the finance and appropriation bills in the Lok Sabha, both these legislations have to go to Rajya Sabha for passage. However, since these are money bills, they would be considered approved, if the Upper House does not return them to the Lower House within 14 days.
The Opposition has an upper hand in the Rajya Sabha.
The proceedings in the Rajya Sabha were also washed out for the eighth straight day today, amid uproar by the opposition and NDA partner TDP over the same issues.
The House was adjourned till 2 PM soon after it had assembled for the day. The Chair called it a day after it reassembled at 2 PM as uproarious scenes continued.
When the Upper House met at 2 PM, the opposition members trooped into the Well raising slogans like “BJP Hatao, Desh Bachao” (remove BJP, save the country) and displaying placards.
Amid the din, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien, who was in the Chair, directed the Secretary General to read out a message from the Lok Sabha. The Rajya Sabha Secretary General of the informed the House about the passage of the Finance Bill and the appropriation bills by the Lower House, amid din.
As the noisy protests continued, Kurien thereafter adjourned the House for the day.
Three of the SP members in the House – R S Tiwari, Chandrapal Singh Yadav and Neeraj Shekhar donned red caps as counting trends in the Uttar Pradesh Lok Sabha bypolls showed their party candidates leading in Phulpur and Gorakhpur, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s constitutency.
Earlier, the proceedings were adjourned till 2 PM due to the continued protests by the members of several parties.
Before the adjournment, the House mourned the death of former member VPM Samy and Stephen Hawking, the legendary British theoretical physicist. It also expressed grief at the death of nine paramilitary personnel killed in a naxal attack in Chhattisgarh yesterday, as well as ten trekkers killed in a recent forest fire in Tamil Nadu.
Soon after the listed papers were laid, several MPs trooped into the Well shouting slogans.
Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu asked them to return to their seats and allow the Zero Hour proceedings. “This is not the way,” he said, ordering that no part of the protest would either go on record or be shown on television. He then adjourned the House till 2 PM.