The Rajya Sabha was adjourned sine die on Monday, ahead of the schedule, owing to the lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19. In the Budget session that began on January 31, the Upper House passed only 12 Bills, six of which were passed on Monday, the last day of the curtailed session.
The six Bills include Finance Bill, 2020 which was passed without any discussion in both Houses of Parliament.
The last day of the session saw many vacant seats. Members of the Trinamool Congress, NCP, SP, BSP, Shiv Sena among others were absent. Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu read out the leave application of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was absent due to ill-health.
“The global outbreak of coronavirus with its origins in China is set to play havoc with the global economic outlook with our country being no exception. The challenge before the world is to minimise the damage caused by the corona outbreak both to the health and wealth of the people across the globe,” Mr. Naidu said at the close of the session.
Earlier in the day, he applauded the 14-hour lockdown of Sunday, calling it unprecedented and heart-warming. “The people of our country rose in unison to the call of national duty in this hour of crisis,” Mr. Naidu said.
In his closing remarks, Mr. Naidu also sought to chastise members for disrupting the House. The Rajya Sabha clocked 76% productivity. He said that while members had the right to discuss and debate but did not have the right to disrupt. “Full and proper exercise of the right to discuss and debate would have resulted in 100% productivity as against the 76% that it turned out to be for this important Budget session,” he said.
The session began on a solemn note paying tributes to 17 security personnel who were killed in an encounter with Maoists in Bastar.
The Upper House also commemorated the Martyrdom Day of freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru for their supreme sacrifice for the country on this day in 1931.
The House bid farewell to 57 retiring members, of which many are not returning to the Upper House. In case of the Congress, out of 15 retirees, only one member, Digivijaya Singh, will be returning to the Upper House. The retirees include 91-year-old Moti Lal Vohra, who gave a 14-minute farewell speech peppered with anecdotes and calling for keeping a harmonious relationship between the treasury and opposition benches.