Centre moves ahead with Budget agenda, Opposition sticks to JPC inquiry demand – The Statesman

Week in Parliament
Statesman News Service | New Delhi |
Representational Image(File Photo)
Parliament did not record any discussion or debate for another week although it completed the processes about the approval for the Union Budget-2023-24. The Upper House returned all financial Bills to the Lok Sabha within 12 minutes on Monday, amending the Finance Bill, 2023 with an official change of a few words.
The Opposition resumed its protests and demanded a JPC inquiry into the Adani Group companies. Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Monday saw members coming to the Well of the House, and adjourned it till afternoon, saying that he wanted to run the House with decorum only.
The Rajya Sabha had members of some Opposition parties led by the Congress, coming to the House in black dresses on the first day of the week. Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar adjourned the House within a minute of assembly, without even presentation of the official papers.
In the afternoon, Dhankhar announced the papers were deemed to have been laid on the official table. As per the Constitutional requirements, the financial agenda was then taken up and cleared. When Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman moved the Finance Bill for consideration of the House, the Chairman saw the commotion and said “there are no Members who wish to participate” in the debate.
He said “it is unfortunate that ten hours that were given for discussion on this have not been availed. This is a theatre for discussion and debate to put across points that matter in larger public interest. Not availing this ten hours of discussion is not very wholesome.” The next day, even as the Opposition asked about its demand for a JPC, the Chairman had to push through his felicitations for women boxers who had earned four gold medals and created history in the Women’s World Boxing Championship.
It was with some effort that he could say the boxers’ “outstanding accomplishments will steer India’s future to great heights, inspiring and motivating the young aspiring athletes.” All through the three-day week, the Government was trying to push some official business, while the Opposition continued with its protests and shouted slogans for its demands.
Shouting from the Treasury Benches for an apology by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had ended after his disqualification as an MP. The Opposition still had its reasons to create noise, and raise a ruckus over its demand for a JPC inquiry into the Adani Group’s alleged financial irregularities. Opposition parties were upset at the quick disqualification of Rahul Gandhi and the official communication that he must vacate his MP bungalow.
Little efforts were apparent that the two sides were ready for a give and take, while the whole nation waited for a resolution and some sharp debates on vital issues. The Lok Sabha passed the Competition Amendment Bill, 2022 on Wednesday, incorporating significant changes in the existing law without debate.
Just as the Bill was moved before the House, presiding officer Rama Devi took up Clause by Clause consideration of the Bill that usually follows a debate. Even as other Opposition parties were protesting, the RSP MP from Kollam, N K Premachandran, never missing an opportunity to submit amendments in proposed legislation, moved a couple of amendments which were rejected by a voice-vote.
The same day, the Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill was introduced by Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Bhupender Yadav despite Premachandran’s opposition, saying “I vehemently oppose the introduction of the Bill, when the House is not in order, it is not fair on the part of the Government to introduce such an important Bill.” The objection was rejected by the House by a voice-vote.
Later, the House adopted the Minister’s motion to refer the Bill to a Joint Committee of the two Houses which will submit its report by the last day of the first week of the next session. The Rajya Sabha too agreed to nominate members for the joint committee. While the impasse continued in the two Houses, Dhankhar announced in the Upper House decisions of the Business Advisory Committee on allocation of time for Government legislative business in the remaining days of the Session.
The two Bills he listed for consideration of the House are the Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2022 and the Inter-Services Organisations (Command, Control and Discipline) Bill, 2023. If the House returns to orderly business, the elders will have four hours each to discuss the two Bills before these are passed.


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