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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Budget session 2nd leg off to stormy start

Amid the disruption, it was announced that both Houses will revert to the usual timing from Tuesday and commence their sitting from 11 am.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: March 9, 2021 1:34:53 am
Opposition leaders stage a protest over rise in fuel prices in Rajya Sabha on Monday. (Source: RSTV/PTI)

The second leg of the Budget session of Parliament began on a stormy note Monday with both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha witnessing sloganeering and protests by Opposition parties demanding an immediate discussion on the rise in fuel and cooking gas prices.

Amid the disruption, it was announced that both Houses will revert to the usual timing from Tuesday and commence their sitting from 11 am.

In both Houses, Opposition members had given notices demanding suspension of all business to take up a discussion on the increase in prices of petrol, diesel and LPG. With the presiding officers not accepting the notices, Opposition members staged protests, leading to multiple adjournments. In Rajya Sabha, the notice was given by Leader of the Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge. The House could not transact any business because of the protests.

“I have gone through the notice and I have come to the conclusion that this issue can be discussed during the course of the discussion on the Appropriation Bill. …Also, we have enough opportunities to discuss it during the Budget part of the Session,” Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said, rejecting the notice. In Lok Sabha, Speaker Om Birla said, “The issue is important. Members can speak on the subject during the discussion on the finance Bill.”

Arguing that the issue was important and people are agitating, Kharge said, “Petrol prices are nearing Rs 100 per litre and the diesel prices are more than Rs 80 per litre. Prices of LPG have also increased. Prices of all the petroleum products have gone up and there is a rise of nearly 820 per cent excise duty on diesel and around 258 per cent excise duty on petrol after 2014…Rs 21 lakh crores have been collected by putting excess excise duty, cess and all these things…because of this, the entire country is suffering.”

With Opposition members rushing to the Well, Naidu adjourned the House to 11 am, saying, “This is not the way. I don’t want to take any drastic action on the first day.”

Similar scenes were witnessed when the House reassembled, leading to multiple adjournments before it was adjourned for the day. The Lok Sabha too saw multiple adjournments over the same issue.

Meanwhile, it was decided that the Houses will revert to the usual timing from Tuesday. In view of Covid protocols, the Rajya Sabha was meeting from 9 am to 2 pm and Lok Sabha from 4 pm to 9 pm with members of each House sitting in both the chambers and galleries.

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