Budget session of Parliament came to a close on Wednesday April 12,2017
Historic Budget Session Clocks in Over 300 Hours, 29 Sittings and 18 Bills
The Budget session of Parliament which came a close on Wednesday April 12,2017 was marked by historic events, including an early start and the merger of the Railway and Union Budgets.
The two-part session commenced on January 31 and the Budget was presented on February 1, 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, the time by which the process would be completed earlier
The Railway Budget and the General Budget were presented togrther, ending a 92-year-old practice of presentation of two separate budgets
Four landmark GST bills and several other legislations besides the Budget and the demand for grants of various ministries were passed, PTI reported.
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.
The first part of the session was from January 31 to February 9 and the second part from March 9 till Wednesday April 12,2017
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 different issues.
Both the Houses passed four bills of the GST (Goods and Services Tax), the biggest tax reform which would bring India under a uniform indirect tax regime.
The Lok Sabha also passed The Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Bill, 2017, The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016, the Enemy Property Bill, the Mental healthcare Bill, Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2016, HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2017 and 123rd Constitution Amendment Bill (to grant constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes)
"Of the 560 starred questions, more than 136 were given oral answers, which comes to around 4.68 questions per day. As many as 494 issues were raised under Rule 377 and 158 Private members Bills were introduced in the House," Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said in her valedictory remarks.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Samajwadi Party's patron Mulayam Singh Yadav and BJP veteran LK Advani were present in the House.
Different ministers gave 51 statements during the course of the session and laid 1,864 papers on the table of the House.
During the joint sitting of Parliament which was addressed by President Pranab Mukherjee on January 31, Lok Sabha member and IUML leader E Ahamed collapsed and was rushed to hospital. Later, he passed away due to massive cardiac arrest.
The Rajya Sabha passed or returned 14 bills, including four GST legislations, the Payment of Wastes (Amendment) Bill, the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Aquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Bill, the Employee's Compensation (Amendment) Bill, the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment Bill) and Appropriation (General and Railways) Bills during the session.
However, the bill to grant constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes, which was passed by the Lok Sabha, could not go through the Rajya Sabha as the Opposition resisted it, after which it was sent to a Select Committee.
Among the issues which led to disruptions in the Upper House's 242nd session was the "rain coat" jibe the Prime Minister Narendra Modi had at his predecessor Manmohan Singh which triggered protests by Congress members.
The other issues which led to disruptions were the demand for swearing-in of VK Sasikala as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, role of Governors regarding formation of governments in Goa and Manipur and the government's proposal for setting up of a National Commission for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes in place of National Commission for Backward Classes.
House proceedings were also stalled over allegations of tampering of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), reported remarks of Rajasthan Home Minister on rape and over "selective targeting" of opposition leaders in cases of land allotments.
However, the Rajya Sabha sat late for more than six and a half hours to make up for the lost time.
Ministers made nine statements on different issues on issues like killing of Indian fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy, the killing of a dairy farmer in Rajasthan, hate crimes against Indian citizens in the US etc.
In his valedictory remarks, Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari also lauded the backbenchers in the House for their enthusiastic contribution to the proceedings.
Ansari said the members' zeal to raise important issues was manifested in 205 Zero Hour submissions, 76 special mentions, 435 starred and 4,629 unstarred questions.
He said the performance of the members on the last two rows was "remarkable" as they made 86 Zero Hour submissions which is near 42 percent of the total.
The back benchers also asked 260 supplementaries, around 48 percent of the over 535 such questions.
During the session 33 private members' bills were introduced while there was animated debate on short duration discussions on issues like election reforms and Aadhaar, he said.