The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed Finance Bill approving the budget for the fiscal year beginning April 1. Applying the guillotine process, the Bill was passed without any discussion as the opposition continued to disrupt the proceedings for the eighth day.
The guillotine process allows for a vote on outstanding demands for grants, whether discussed or not, once the time frame allotted for the discussion is over due to ongoing political issues.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley moved the Finance Bill 2018, which contains taxation proposals of his fifth and final budget, as well as the appropriation bill that details spendings in various departments, amid protests by opposition which continued sloganeering in the House. The bills were then passed by voice vote. Opposition parties protested the move since the session is to continue till April 6.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar had said the government has been making efforts to run the House for the past one-and-a-half week and is ready to discuss any issue, but since the proceedings have remained disrupted, the key money bills should be taken up at noon. Agreeing with the view, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan took up the bills at noon instead of 5 pm. She also voiced unhappiness over stalling of House proceedings adding that urgent legislative business cannot be further delayed.
With the passage of the Finance Bill and the Appropriation Bill, the budget exercise is complete in the lower house. Technically, the two Bills also have to go to Rajya Sabha but since they are money bill they would be considered approved if the Upper House of Parliament does not return them within 14 days. The Opposition has an upper hand in the Rajya Sabha.
The passing of budget is necessary since it’s failure would mean the government cannot spend a single penny on its functioning.
(With PTI inputs)