The Budget session of Parliament came to an end on Wednesday. The session saw passage of some key bills including approval of four landmark GST bills and several other legislation bills besides the Budget and the demand for grants of various ministries.
The two-part session, which was advanced for the first time in the country's history, commenced on 31 January with the customary address by the President to a joint sitting. There was an adjournment for recess on 9 February due to Assembly polls in 5 states. The second session took place from 9 March to 12 April 2017.
A Merged Budget
For the first time, the Budget was presented on 1 February, almost a month ahead of the usual date, as the government wanted to complete the budgetary exercise before the end of March instead of May.
Another historic development witnessed this time was the merger of the Railway Budget with the General Budget, ending a 92-year-old practice of presentation of two separate budgets.
GST Bill Was Cleared, Finally!
Four bills related to Goods and Services Tax were cleared in Lok Sabha, making it the biggest tax reform yet in the history of the country. The reform willl bring India under a uniform tax regime.
The bill was later cleared in the Rajya Sabha too, where the government doesn’t have a majority.
When Parliament Stood United for Jadhav
The session also saw all the parties coming together in both the Houses over the death sentence awarded to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav by a Pakistani military court on the charges of spying.
Amid outrage in both the Houses, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj made statements, saying the execution would be a pre-meditated murder and warned that it will have consequences on the bilateral ties.
Leader of Congress in lower house, Mallikarjun Kharge also echoed Sushma Swaraj’s sentiments and urged government to take every possible step to bring Jadhav back. He also added that if Jadhav was executed, it will be nothing short of a premeditated murder on the part of Pakistan.
Altogether, there were 29 sittings, with the Lok Sabha working for 176 hours and 39 minutes and the Rajya Sabha for over 136 hours.
The Lok Sabha lost eight hours and 12 minutes due to disruptions, including one by the Shiv Sena over the flying ban by domestic airlines on one of its MPs who had allegedly thrashed an Air India employee.
The Upper House lost 13 hours because of furore over various issues.
Video Editor: Purpendu Pritam