Parliament Budget Session 1st innings plays out with bouquets and brickbats

The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs announced the budget session in 2-phases; 1st from January 31 to February 11 and the second from March 2 to April 3 which includes 31 sittings.

Crux of the Matter

Day 1 – President’s Address
On January 31, 2020, The President of India, Mr. Ram Nath Kovind, addressed a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament outlining the major policy achievements and objectives of the government.

The President spoke vividly on the measures taken to handle economic challenges and meet the GDP targets. He highlighted the growing startup ecosystem which is creating newer opportunities in different sectors.

He also applauded the decisions of the government in the past year in all areas right from J&K, North East, Defence, Infrastructure, ISRO, Cleanliness, Minorities, and other major developments.

He said, “This decade, which has just begun, will determine India’s global standing in the times to come. The world will witness an inclusive, prosperous, capable and powerful New India in this decade.”

Day 2 – The Finance Bill, 2020
On February 1, the bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman who also presented the Union Budget which brought major structural reforms which are expected to accelerate the slow-moving economy and bring in good governance and ease of doing business.

The government will be spending Rs 20,42,230 crore in 2020-21, which is 12.7% higher than 2019-20. The ministry wise budget stands at:

  • Ministry of Defence – Rs. 4,71,378 crores
  • Human Resource – Rs. 99,312 crores
  • Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs – Rs. 50,040 crores
  • Ministry of Rural Development – Rs. 1,22,398 crores
  • Ministry of Home Affairs – Rs. 1,67,250 crores
  • Ministry of Agriculture – Rs. 1,42,762 crores

A major change in the income tax rates was proposed and additionally, tax benefits were announced for a variety of sectors to boost infrastructure growth.

Read Summachar’s detailed budget analysis here.

Day 3
On February 3, the Lok Sabha discussed Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and skill development in Maharashtra during the question hour.

Whereas in the Rajya Sabha the report by Ad-hoc Committee on the issue of child pornography and its effect on society was tabled and later the house had to be adjourned due to continuous disruptions.

Day 4
On February 4, ‘The Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020‘ was introduced by the Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Mr. Hardeep Singh Puri in the Lok Sabha.

The Bill seeks to amend the Aircraft Act, 1934 to regulate the manufacture, possession, use, operation, sale, import and export of civil aircraft, and licensing of aerodromes.

In the Rajya Sabha, a range of issues were raised during the Zero Hour including revocation of the amendment to the 2006 Environment Impact Assessment (EIA).

Day 5
On February 5, ‘The Direct Tax Vivad Se Vishwas Bill, 2020‘ was introduced in the Lok Sabha by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The bill provides a mechanism for resolution of pending tax disputes related to income and corporation taxes. The Select Committee Report on Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019 was tabled in the Rajya Sabha.

Day 6
On February 6, the Prime Minister replied to the motion of thanks to the President’s Address in both the houses.

In the Lok Sabha, he spoke elaborately on burning issues of CAA, Article 370, and Bodo Agreement in an hour-long speech. In the Rajya Sabha, the PM launched a fierce attack on the claims made by Congress party in the areas of employment, agriculture, farmer’s income, and economy by presenting statistics w.r.t FDI & GST.

After a series of disruptions and long debate of nearly 13 hours which included replies to the President’s address from all party leaders, the Motion of Thanks to the President’s address was adopted by the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha through a voice vote.

After the motion was passed, a general discussion on the union budget started in the Lok Sabha.

Day 7
On February 7, a discussion on the Economic Survey 2019-20 was done in the Rajya Sabha. The Health Minister briefed the Lok Sabha on the status and measures taken to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

Day 8
On February 10,The Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Bill, 2020‘ was introduced by the Ministry of AYUSH in the Lok Sabha which proposes to merge 3 Ayurveda institutes in Jamnagar into the Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda and declare it as an Institution of national importance.

According to the 15th Finance Commission Report for FY 2020-21, the share of states in the centre’s taxes is recommended to be decreased from 42% to 41% for 2020-21 to provide for the newly formed union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

The Rajya Sabha discussed the Union Budget wherein the members highlighted the possible impacts of the 15th Finance Commission recommendations.

Day 9
On February 11, The Lok Sabha passed the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019. This Bill aims to include Karnataka’s Parivara and Talawara tribe into Scheduled Tribes.

The Standing Committee report on Labour on the Occupational Safety, Health, and Working Conditions Code, 2019 was tabled in the Lok Sabha. The Bill, among other things, aims at establishing the National Occupational Safety and Health Advisory Board that would advise the government on rules, and standards of worker safety

The Rajya Sabha continued with the discussion on the budget wherein the Finance Minister outlined different plans and highlighted the positive indicators in the economy.

Later on, both the houses were adjourned for the first phase of the session and are now scheduled to meet on March 2.

Curiopedia

The Parliament of India is the supreme legislative body in India It is a bicameral legislature composed of the President of India and the two houses: the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha. The period during which the House meets to conduct its business is called a session. The Constitution empowers the President to summon each House. The Indian Parliament conducts three sessions each year: Budget session: February to May; Monsoon session: July to September; Winter session: November to December. More Info

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