While the first part of the Budget session was productive, the second half was a near washout — thanks to daily adjournments.
As the session draws to a close on Thursday, time log from uncorrected debates show that the Lok Sabha sat for just a little over four hours of work in as many as 14 sittings. Eight Bills, including the Finance Bill and the Appropriation Bill, were passed in the din.
Passage of Bills
For instance, 102 Demands for Grants were guillotined on March 23. Similarly, the Appropriation Bill, required to empower the government to withdraw from the Consolidated Fund of India, was passed in the din and all cut motions were negated.
As many as 60 amendments to the Finance Bill were rushed through the lower House on March 24, within 46 minutes. Unlike Demands for Grants, amendments cannot be guillotined and need to be taken up clause by clause, followed by voting (either through voice or through division). As the House was not in order, division was not possible, and so all the amendments were passed by a voice vote. The Finance Bill was passed without any debate and only a brief speech by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
Similarly, on March 29, the Lok Sabha sat for 36 minutes, mainly to take up the passage of the Competition (Amendment) Bill. There were 13 amendments, moved by the government, and all of them were passed by voice vote.
Rajya Sabha, too, proceeded on similar lines with hardly any substantive debates and discussion over critical legislative business.
Ruckus in the House
No negotiations, to ensure the smooth functioning of the House, were held between the Treasury benches and the Opposition. While the ruling majority demanded an apology from Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his remarks made in the UK on Indian democracy, the Opposition wanted a Joint Parliamentary Committee to be formed to probe the Adani-Hindenburg issue.
The session also witnessed the disqualification of Gandhi as an MP after he was convicted in a defamation case.