The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed the crucial Finance Bill 2018, amid noisy protests by members of the opposition and some NDA constituents in the House.
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 din created by slogan-shouting opposition.
The bills were passed by voice vote. Ruling BJP-led NDA has an absolute majority in the Lower House of Parliament. The appropriation bill was approved after a guillotine was applied which essentially means that all outstanding demands for grants from various departments are put to vote at once whether they are discussed or not. 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 functioning of both houses of Parliament has been stalled since the second half of the Budget session began on March 5 as opposition parties raised issues ranging from India's biggest bank fraud to division of Cauvery river water and special package to Andhra Pradesh.
Neither Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha has transacted any substantial business in the past eight days.
Earlier this week, the BJP had issued a three-day whip to its members to be present in the House. Budget passage is a constitutional obligation without which the government cannot spend a single penny on its functioning. Opposition parties protested against passing of the Budget without a debate as the session is to continue till April 6.
The Lok Sabha was also scheduled to take up the Finance Bill 2018 on Tuesday and the Appropriation bills. However, due to continued protests, no legislative business could be carried out.
The Lok Sabha has failed to transact substantial business on account of frequent disruptions since March 5 when the second leg of the Budget Session of Parliament commenced.
What is Finance Bill, 2018?
The provisions of Finance Bill, 2018 relating to direct taxes seek to amend the Income-tax Act, 1961 (hereafter referred to as 'the Act') to continue to provide momentum to the buoyancy indirect taxes through deepening and widening of the tax base, reducing the corporate tax rate for micro, small and medium enterprises, promoting horizontal equity in personal income-tax and enhancing the effectiveness, transparency and accountability of the tax administration.
OneIndia News (with PTI inputs)