The Lok Sabha on Monday passed the Appropriation Bill 2020-21 that empowers the government to draw over ₹110 lakh crore from the Consolidated Fund of India for its working, as well as for the implementation of its programmes and schemes.
Now, with only the Finance Bill that pertains to the government’s taxation proposal awaiting passage, questions are being asked if the government would go in for an early adjournment because of the spread of coronavirus.
Both Speaker Om Birla and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi have so far said there is no plan to cut short the session ahead of its scheduled date of April 3.
With the passage of the Appropriation Bill, two-thirds of the exercise for the approval of the 2020-21 Budget has been completed as both Houses had debated Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s Budget proposals in the first half of the current session.
The Appropriation Bill, passed by by a voice vote, envisages spending of ₹110.4 lakh crore during the Financial Year 2020-21. Speaker Om Birla applied “guillotine” — the Parliamentary tool to club all other pending subjects for discussion — after the discussion on the demand for grants to the Ministry of Tourism was completed.
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Earlier, the House had discussed in detail the demands for grants for Railways, and the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
Participating in the discussion on tourism, the BJP’s Rajiv Pratap Rudy cautioned the government on impact of the cornonavirus on the tourism sector and urged the government to offer a relief package as other countries have done.
Trinamool Congress’ Satabdi Ray said the Centre should plan new tourists destinations in Jammu and Kashmir if it [the Centre] wants to integrate the region with the rest of India by abrogating Article 370.
A Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam member, C.N. Annadurai, demanded the start of bullet train services from Chennai to his constituency Tiruvannamalai, to promote tourism.
Initiating debate, Congress member Vincent Pala said that though there is a huge potential for growth in the sector, there is hardly any coordination between the Tourism Ministry and other Ministries like External Affairs and Civil Aviation.