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Oppn protests as govt pushes finance bills amid stalemate in Lok Sabha

Opposition parties wrote to Speaker Sumitra Mahajan arguing that the time was allotted for discussions on the Demand for Grants of six ministries but the schedule of debate was yet to be finalised.

india Updated: Mar 13, 2018 23:20 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Opposition,Finance Bill,Lok Sabha stalemate
Opposition members protest during the ongoing budget session of Parliament at the Lok Sabha in New Delhi on Tuesday. (PTI Photo)

The government on Tuesday brought key elements of the Budget for passage in Lok Sabha amidst the ongoing stalemate in Parliament prompting complaints from opposition parties that it is trying to bulldoze its way through without discussion.

The Centre on Tuesday planned discussions and voting on the Demands for Grants of railways, agriculture, and social justice ministries and wanted voting on the Outstanding Demands for Grants (the Guillotine) for the Union Budget. It also wanted to introduce the Appropriation Bill, 2018 and the all-important Finance Bill. With several hours lost to daily disruptions, the Centre’s floor managers are keen to complete pending government business at the earliest.

The proposed list of business signalled the intent of the government to aggressively push these issues through parliament which has hardly seen any business done this session, with the Congress and a few other opposition parties seeking a debate on the fraud at Punjab National Bank, the Telugu Desam seeking special status for the state of Andhra Pradesh, and the AIADMK and the DMK, the appointment of the Cauvery Management Board.

How financial bills are passed
  • The usual practice is to discuss the demand for grants from select ministries and put the remaining ones in ‘Guillotine’ for a consolidated debate
  • After the demands for grants and the appropriation bills are cleared, the government moves the finance bill
  • This year, as disruptions continue in Parliament the NDA’s floor managers are ready to pass the demands for grants and the bills without any discussion
  • If the government passes the financial bills amid the chaos and disruptions, the Opposition loses a chance to seek answers on key issues such as the fraud in Punjab National Bank

The BJP, which called a meeting of its parliamentary party on Tuesday, blamed the Congress for the impasse. Parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar said after the meeting that the ruling dispensation has been negotiating with different parties to break the deadlock.

“Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi spoke on democracy outside the Parliament but don’t practise it,” he said, adding that the ruling party has issued a whip to its members to ensure their presence during passage of important bills.

Opposition parties such as the Congress, Trinamool Congress, the CPI (M), the DMK and the NCP wrote to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan arguing that the time was allotted for discussions on the Demand for Grants of six ministries but the schedule of debate was yet to be finalised.

“Without deciding/ informing the date and time of Guillotine and passing of Finance Bill to all Party leaders, it is quite unusual to include them in List of Business,” the letter said.

First Published: Mar 13, 2018 23:14 IST