Budget session ends a day early; 11 bills passed

Updated on Apr 08, 2022 07:08 AM IST

The premature end of the session -- this is the sixth session in a row to be adjourned ahead of schedule -- set off a political debate with the Congress accusing the government of avoiding a debate on price rise.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi greets Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union defence minister Rajnath Singh and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, in New Delhi on Thursday. (PTI)
Congress president Sonia Gandhi greets Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union defence minister Rajnath Singh and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, in New Delhi on Thursday. (PTI)
BySaubhadra Chatterji and Smriti Kak Ramachandran

The budget session of Parliament that ended a day ahead of schedule on Thursday saw 139% productivity in the Lok Sabha and 99% in the Rajya Sabha, with each House clearing 11 bills, including the legislation to merge the three municipal corporations of Delhi and the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill giving law enforcement agencies widespread powers to collect biometrics.

The premature end of the session -- this is the sixth session in a row to be adjourned ahead of schedule -- set off a political debate with the Congress accusing the government of avoiding a debate on price rise.

The Congress’s Lok Sabha floor leader Adhir Chowdhury claimed that government managers agreed to a debate on the recent hike in fuel prices but backtracked as the spiraling prices of petrol, diesel, coking gas and even kerosene “couldn’t be managed anymore”.

“In the Business Advisory Committee (panel to decide the House agenda), the government managers agreed to discuss the fuel price situation, thinking they could manage the situation. But after the fuel prices soared higher and even kerosene, the fuel for poor families, was not spared, the government quickly wrapped up the session to avoid any debate,” he claimed.

The budget session, divided over two parts, lasted a total of 27 days. The Lok Sabha worked for 177 hours 50 minutes while the Rajya Sabha worked for 127 hours 54 minutes.
The budget session, divided over two parts, lasted a total of 27 days. The Lok Sabha worked for 177 hours 50 minutes while the Rajya Sabha worked for 127 hours 54 minutes.

The government rejected the charges. Union parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi claimed that “the opposition MPs themselves had requested that the House should adjourn a day earlier than the scheduled closing date. At the Rajya Sabha BAC meeting, the MPs asked for the house to be adjourned on account of the Ram Navami celebrations.”

Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge argued, “We cooperated with the government in passing the bills. If the Lok Sabha had 139% productivity and the Rajya Sabha nearly 100%, the credit goes to the Opposition. But we wanted to discuss how, in spite of crude prices going down, the retail prices of petrol diesel, CNG, LPG are going up. But the government insisted that we take it up in the supplementary budget discussions.”

Joshi said: “I just want to highlight one thing…there was full discussion on the Finance Bill, Supplementary demand for grants, Jammu & Kashmir budget, everything was allowed.”

Speaking outside Parliament, a senior BJP functionary who asked not to be named said the Opposition had an opportunity to raise the issue of price rise of essential goods and food items during the discussion on the appropriation bill and the finance bill.

Congress chief whip Jairam Ramesh, meanwhile, said that the Opposition was ready to discuss two more government bills, “But the government was not prepared to bring them for passage. It showed that the government didn’t have enough business for the session.”

The budget session, divided over two parts, lasted a total of 27 days. The Lok Sabha worked for 177 hours 50 minutes while the Rajya Sabha worked for 127 hours 54 minutes.

In his valedictory speech, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said, “The productivity remained at 139%. In this session 40 hours were utilised for discussion on important issues. 182 starred questions were answered and 488 issues of public importance were taken up under rule 377.”

Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu, however, had to tackle disruptions in the House on Thursday. “This is not the way. I will not allow it. You can’t force me,” Naidu told the Opposition demanding a debate on price rise, “Is this the message you want to give to the country on the last day of the session ?”

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