With no sign of truce between treasury and opposition benches, Lok Sabha is all set to approve the key elements of Union Budget — Demands for Grants, Appropriation Bill and Finance Bill — without any debate as early as the end of this week.

Once this key legislative business is wrapped up without any discussion on Thursday and Friday, there is a strong possibility that both Houses will be adjourned sine-die much before the scheduled date of April 6.

The Lok Sabha has rescheduled the discussion and voting on Demands for Grants related to five Ministries — Railways, Rural Development & Panchayati Raj, Tribal Affairs, Tourism & Culture, and Health & Family Welfare — for Thursday. As the House is not witnessing any structured debate, it is likely that all Demands for Grants will be guillotined.

Once this is wrapped up, the Appropriation Bill (for withdrawal of money required for meeting Demands for Grants from the Consolidated Fund of India) will be introduced for consideration and passage.

Finance Bill on Friday’s list

The list of business for Friday includes Finance Bill for consideration and passage. The Bill, which includes all the provisions for taxes along with some amendments in different laws, was introduced on February 1 after the Budget speech.  

It may be noted that first leg of the Budget session did have a discussion on General Budget which concluded with a reply by the Finance Minter Nirmala Sitharaman. However, that was just on overall tone of the Budget and not on any tax proposals or expenditure provisions.

Since the beginning of second leg of the Budget session, both the Houses are yet to have even one productive hour. While the government is demanding an apology from Congress leader and MP from Waynad (Kerala) Rahul Gandhi over his remarks in the UK, the Opposition wants a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to be set up to probe the Adani Hindenburg issue.

On Tuesday, presiding officers of both the Houses called separate meetings of the leaders of various political parties. But there was no resolution to the House impasse.

Role of Rajya Sabha

Once Lok Sabha approves Demands for Grants, Appropriation Bill and Finance Bill, then these will be sent to the Rajya Sabha for discussion only. Post discussion, the Upper House cannot make any changes although it can suggest amendments that need to be vetted and approved by the Lok Sabha.

Once money Bills are sent to Rajya Sabha, it needs to return within 14 days otherwise these will be deemed approved. Post all these, all the three will be forwarded to the President for her assent, after which Finance Bill and Appropriation Bill will become laws and the government will be able to spend according to Demands for Grants.

Since fiscal year 2017-18, Union Budget is being presented on first day of February and completed by March 31. Rules say Finance Bill needs to be passed by the Parliament within 75 days of introduction.

The Budget Session has listed 26 Bills, but out of that the Finance Bill is most important as this is constitutional obligation of the government. Once the Finance Bill is passed, it is unlikely that any other Bill will be taken up for discussion. Both the Houses are likely to be prorogued any time post completion of the budgetary process.