The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed the Union Budget without any discussion as the Opposition continued protest over its demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the Adani issue.
The Lower House functioned barely for six minutes in the first half before Speaker Om Birla adjourned it until the post-lunch session. Similar scenes were witnessed at 2 p.m when the House resumed as the Opposition members trooped into the Well demanding a JPC and the Treasury benches matching the demands with slogans asking Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to apologise for his remarks in the U.K.
When the House reconvened at 6 p.m., the Opposition’s amendments to the government’s spending plan were rejected by voice vote. Following this, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharman moved the Demands for Grants for 2023-24 and the relevant Appropriation Bills for discussion and voting. The Speaker then applied guillotine and put the Demands for Grants of all Ministries for voting which were passed, amid sloganeering by the Opposition. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also present in the House.
Though the Business Advisory Committee had granted its approval, no discussion could take place on Ministries of railway, rural development, health and family welfare, panchayati raj, tribal affairs and, tourism and culture.
The Speaker applying guillotine to get the demand for grants passed is significant with speculation rife that the Budget Session might end early. Both Houses have failed to transact any business in the second leg of the Budget Session due to protests by the Opposition and Treasury benches.
The House is likely to take up the Finance Bill 2023 on Friday. With the passage of the Finance Bill, tax proposals announced in the Budget would be passed. The Budget envisages an expenditure of around ₹45 lakh crore for the financial year starting April 1. The total expenditure in 2023-24 is estimated at ₹45,03,097 crore, of which total capital expenditure has been pegged at ₹10,00,961 crore.
All the Budget-related Bills would be sent to the Rajya Sabha, which cannot make any changes but only return them to the Lok Sabha after discussion as they are ‘money bills’ requiring approval of the Lower House only.