New Delhi, April 12: The Budget Session of Parliament, which concluded on Wednesday, has been a very productive one. While the first half of Budget Session, January 31 to February 9, was a whitewash; the second half, March 9 to April 12, witnessed passage of many key bills.
In the first half, the Opposition cornered the government over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation move but in the second half, both treasury bench and the Opposition joined hands to pass 12 key bills including the Finance Bill, 2017, The Mental Health Care Bill, 2013, four bills related to implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), The Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2016, The Payment of Wages (Amendment) Bill, 2017, The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
The productivity of the session was high with Lok Sabha recording 108 per cent and Rajya Sabha 84 per cent, according to PRS Legislative Research.
The Lower House spent 60 hours on legislative issues and the Upper House spent 52.2 hours on non-legislative issues. The Lok Sabha functioned for 178.1 hours while the Rajya Sabha functioned for 129.4 hours, as per PRS Legislative Research report.
The session also witnessed scrapping of colonial-era tradition of presenting the Budget at the end of February. This year, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented Budget on February 1. The Budget also scrapped the classification of expenditure under plan and non-plan heads as also merged Railway budget with it, ending a nearly century-long practice.
There was a war of words between the two sides over a host of issues like allegations of EVM tampering, racial attack on Indians in the US, linking of Aadhaar to welfare benefits and I-T returns, Alwar lynching case, BJP leader Tarun Vijay’s racial remarks and many more.
Even Modi described the Budget Session as a “winner” for the treasury benches as the government was able to secure the passage of many key Bills.
Addressing the BJP Parliamentary Party meeting, Modi had pitched for pushing the reforms and development agenda as the ruling dispensation will complete its third anniversary in May, reports said.
“This is a golden opportunity for us to lift the lives of the poor, the deprived…This is the time for doing more development and reforms,” Modi had said.