First half of budget session ends, govt tables 4 key bills
The government managed to introduce three legislations apart from the all-important Finance Bill 2020. These bills are: The Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, The Direct Tax Vivad se Vishwas Bill and The Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Bill.Updated: Feb 12, 2020 06:16 IST
The first half of the Budget session of Parliament, marred by protests over the contentious Citizenship Amended Act, ended on Tuesday after some key debates and introduction of four bills.
The government managed to introduce three legislations apart from the all-important Finance Bill 2020. These bills are: The Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, The Direct Tax Vivad se Vishwas Bill and The Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Bill.
Before adjourning for the second half, the Lok Sabha passed the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019.
The bill amends the Scheduled Tribes list of Karnataka to add the Paliwara, Parivara and Siddi communities to it.
The second half of the session, which will run from March 2 to April 3, will see more legislative action and the possibility of continuous protests by the Opposition.
The budget session started on a stormy note with rare protests during the President’s speech itself. The Opposition raised slogans and posters as President Ram Nath Kovind invoked Mahatma Gandhi’s quotes to justify the CAA.
The citizenship law also emerged as the key theme of the debate on Kovind’s speech as many Opposition leaders demanded a roll back of the law which fast-tracks citizenship to people from persecuted mon-Muslim minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who entered India before December 31, 2014 .
The Delhi elections also cast a shadow over the debates as the BJP fielded its West Delhi MP Parvesh Verma, who was temporarily barred from campaigning in the Delhi polls, to initiate the debate on the President’s speech. Amid protests, Verma spared no chances to hit out at the Congress and categorically ruled out any roll-back in the law.
He stated that his was the Modi government and not the one of “Rajiv Feroze Khan”, a reference to a conspiracy theory that Feroze Gandhi, late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s father was a a Muslim (he was actually a Parsi).
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s budget speech on February 1, went on to set the record for the longest-ever presentation of the general budget. The budget saw new income tax proposals aimed to increase the disposable income of most tax-payers. It also announced the divestment of LIC, through a partial IPO.
The two houses, however, grappled with issues related to the attendance of members. On Tuesday, Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu expressed concern over low attendance in the House.
The ruling BJP issued a three-line whip on Monday evening, triggering speculations of introduction of a major legislation in the House. But Naidu clarified that the whip was issued simply to improve the attendance.
“That is for the health of the House because today is the last day (before the break) and we have seen in the past that attendance normally is very less (on these days) sending a very wrong message as if members are not interested in the Budget and the House,” he said. Naidu also quipped that he will be happy if “a whip is issued regularly” to ensure attendance of more MPs.