Coronavirus update: Both Houses adjourned sine die
Coronavirus update: While there are several instances of a session being curtailed due to disruptions or political reasons, this is possibly the first time in the history of Parliament that a session was cut short by a grave public health crisis, according to three senior officials.Updated: Mar 24, 2020 08:46 IST
Indian Parliament’s budget session, which started embroiled in political hostility over citizenship laws, abruptly ended on Monday on a note of unity over the Covid-19 outbreak.
While there are several instances of a session being curtailed due to disruptions or political reasons, this is possibly the first time in the history of Parliament that a session was cut short by a grave public health crisis, according to three senior officials. All members stood up and clapped in both Houses to honour the medical fraternity and public servants who are at the forefront of India’s fight against the deadly Covid-19, a day after the country overwhelmingly responded to the Prime Minister’s call to express gratitude in the same manner.
“Our country is a spirited partner in the collective global efforts to contain the spread of this deadly virus. I fondly hope that collectively this battle would be won,” Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu said before the House was adjourned sine die.
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The government was able to fast track the approval of the Finance Bill 2020, a constitutional obligation, without any debate. The Opposition, however, did not agree to the government’s proposal to clear The Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020, that amends laws related to cooperative banks.
At 1.30 pm, both Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla met floor leaders of their respective Houses to decide on an early adjournment.
According to an Opposition leader, Birla explained the situation and how it has become imperative to close the budget session. Opposition leaders immediately agreed and pointed out that they had been demanding an early closure for the past two weeks. It was also decided that the finance bill would be passed without any lengthy debate to allow enough time to the Rajya Sabha to send the legislation back on the same day.
In the House, Birla reminded the lawmakers how people of India had transcended political, religious and regional boundaries to put up a united show against the outbreak on Sunday. “Yesterday was a unique day. There were no political divides, no division of faith or religion. There were no rich or poor. Yesterday, India was united.”
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Altogether, 11 new bills were introduced during the session and four non-financial bills were cleared by both Houses of Parliament. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi said that 19 bills were introduced and 12 were cleared by both Houses. The key bills cleared include The Central Sanskrit Universities Bill, The Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill, The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill and the flagship Direct Tax Vivad Se Vishwas Bill.
Joshi said: “... The productivity for the complete Budget Session, 2020, of Lok Sabha was approx. 90% and that of Rajya Sabha was 74%.”