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LS passes Budget : Demands for Grants, Fin Bill given nod without debate


New Delhi, Notwithstanding the charge of the united Opposition that passage of Finance Bill in the Lok Sabha without any discussion will be "disastrous" and that the government was bulldozing its way, the NDA government on Wednesday got the Budget 2018-19 passed in the House by putting the Demands for Grants through guillotine process. The government sources defended the move saying the passage of Budget 2018-19 in the Lower House without discussion by applying the guillotine process was necessitated as both the Houses of Parliament have failed to transact any business since March 5 when the second part of the Budget session of Parliament resumed. The Opposition parties Congress, Trinamool and NDA ally TDP members have been protesting over various issues including Nirav Modi-PNB scam, paralysing the functioning of the House of the People for the eighth day. The protest in both the Houses comes close on the heels of the Left parties being handed a convincing defeat in their erstwhile citadel Tripura. The Bharatiya Janata Party has also been able to form coalition governments in Nagaland and Meghalaya, two other Northeast states which went to the polls. The BJP had issued a three-line whip to all its members to be present in the Lok Sabha on March 13, 14 and 15 and in fact the agenda paper of Tuesday (March 13) also had one of the items as Demands for Grants to be taken as "guillotine". On Tuesday, the Opposition Congress, Left parties and Biju Janata Dal among others met Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and had protested the government plans to pass the Budget in din. The government has shown "arrogance and unilateral move to bulldoze all financial business" without any discussion, they alleged in a memorandum. BJD leader Bhartruhari Mahtab said: "The Finance Bill should be discussed. Passing in din will be a disastrous move". The Demands for Grants for 2018-19 were taken together in guillotine and the Finance Bill 2018 along with relevant Appropriation Bills were passed by the House amid din as members from NDA ally Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and YSR Congress Party, carrying placards, sought 'Special Status' for Andhra Pradesh. Some TDP MPs also carried placards demanding setting up of a Railway Zone at Visakhapatnam. Samajwadi Party Member Dharmendra Pradhan continuously raised anti-BJP slogans and said while "democracy was being murdered in Gorakhpur bypolls, the country was looking forward to the Lok Sabha and Speaker Sumitra Mahajan for protection of the democracy". Finance Minister Arun Jaitley moved the Finance Bill 2018 - that by customary contains taxation proposals. Altogether 21 amendments were introduced in the Finance Bill by Mr Jaitley. As pandemonium prevailed, Congress and Trinamool Congress along with NCP lawmaker Tariq Anwar staged walkout, protesting the manner in which the Demands for Grants and Bills pertaining to Budget were being passed amid din. Kalyan Banerjee of Trinamool Congress said such a process was "like killing of democracy". Jyotiraditya Scindia of Congress also made his observation but nothing could be heard amid uproar and the members staged walkout. Several Opposition members later said they did not understand what was the tiring hurry in passing the Budget by "guillotine process" as the Budget session of Parliament was to end on April 6. The Finance Bill 2018 would now go to the Rajya Sabha for its consideration and return to the Lower House. If the Upper House does not return it within 14 days, it will be considered as approved.

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