The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed the budget and voted demands for grants to the tune of Rs 94,61,524 crore without any debate as the House witnessed continued disruption for the eighth straight day caused by the opposition parties and some BJP allies.
With no signs of order returning anytime soon in the government-opposition standoff, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan heeded the government’s request for early passage of the budget by advancing the guillotine on the debate on demands for grants for various ministries relating to fiscal 2018-19.
She put to vote the demands and the bill even as opposition and other agitating members raised slogans on various issues. While members from the TDP, YSR Congress, AIADMK and Samajwadi Party came near the Speaker’s podium, those belonging to other parties remained at their seats while shouting slogans.
The House passed by voice vote the relevant appropriation bill authorising payment of the monies from the Consolidated Fund of India. It also passed another appropriation bill authorising payment of Rs 906,835 crore towards supplementary demands for grants for fiscal 2017-18.
Members of the Congress and Trinamool walked out in protest at the voting process was on.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley moved the Finance Bill 2018 as well as the Appropriation Bills.
Because of the standoff, none of the demands for grants of any ministry was taken up for discussion during the resumed part of the budget session.
While the opposition parties have been raising the issue of the fraud in the Punjab National Bank, the regional parties have been raking up issues like grant of special category status to Andhra Pradesh and the demand for setting up of a Cauvery Water Management Board.
Amid protests, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar requested Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to take up the financial business at 12 noon.
“Keeping in view the urgency involved in financial business, we cannot defer the same any longer. Hence guillotine in respect of the demands for grants 2018-19, which is scheduled for 5 p.m, will now be taken up immediately after the laying of papers,” the Speaker said.
When the House met at noon, members from the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), YSR Congress, AIADMK and Samajwadi Party trooped near the Speaker’s podium and started raising slogans.
The TDP and YSR Congress are demanding a special economic status for Andhra Pradesh.
The Samajwadi Party protested against the BJP-led government in Uttar Pradesh, urging Mahajan to “save democracy”, after Gorakhpur District Magistrate Rajeev Routela refused entry to journalists at the counting centre on Wednesday.
Members from the Congress, Trinamool Congress and the Left parties, who have been protesting over the PNB fraud, stood in their seats as the Speaker went ahead with the different bills related to passing the demands for grants and the finance bill.
Members from the CPI-M, including party leader Mohammad Salim, AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi, Bhagwant Mann of Aam Aadmi Party and some others were seen joining the chorus with SP members who were near the Speaker’s podium, shouting slogans alleging murder of democracy.
On Tuesday, members from the opposition parties wrote to Mahajan protesting against the listing of guillotining of bills related to demands for grants.
Under Parliament procedures, Parliament debates demands for grants of some ministries before guillotine is applied on the debate of the demands for grants of other ministries due to paucity of time. The demands for grants of all the remaining ministries are then put to vote.
Once all the demands for grants were passed through voice vote, members in the treasury benches thumped their desks.
The passage of the Finance Bill and the Appropriation Bill completes the budget exercise in the Lok Sabha.
The two Bills will now go to the Rajya Sabha, which has no veto on the issue. If the bills are not returned to the Lok Sabha in 14 days, they are considered adopted.