With 250 working hours lost in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, the Budget Session was a complete washout. And the amount of money lost is bigger than what was allocated for building India's border infrastructure.
With 250 working hours lost in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, the Budget Session was a complete washout. Both Houses of Parliament in the Budget Session adjourned sine die on Friday with merely five of 19 starred questions replied orally by Ministers in the Rajya Sabha, and 17 of the 580 such questions answered in the Lok Sabha during the 29 sittings. While there’s a blame-game going on between the opposition and the ruling party for causing the washout, what’s significant is that India lost money for each minute that was wasted.
According to government’s last estimates, each minute of running the Parliment costs Rs 2.5 lakh and with as much as 250 working hours, the amount of money lost adds up to whopping Rs 375 crore. Interestingly, this amount is bigger than what the government allocated to the BSF and the ITBP for border infrastructure. The government had allocated sanctioned Rs 369.84 crore for building bunkers and special climate-controlled huts along Indo-Pak and Sino-India borders.
The Budget Session 2018, besides the loss, was also criticised for setting precedents that could undermine the democratic process of the country. To begin with, on March 14, the Lok Sabha passed 21 amendments to the Finance Bill 2018 and completed the Budget 2018 exercise in just 30 minutes with any debate. It also passed a bill which now exempts political parties from the scrutiny of funds they have received from abroad since 1976.
“Passing the Finance Bill 2018 in such hurry has set a bad precedent for India’s democracy especially since it was a money bill and it only needed the nod from the Lok Sabha,” Maj Gen Anil Verma (Retd), Head of Association for Democratic Reforms recently told FE Online, adding that this kind of situation was witnessed only once or twice in the past.
The disruptions and adjournments in the Budget Session were caused by the opposition over special status to Andhra Pradesh, demand for Cauvery water management board, bank scams, review of the recent Supreme Court order on SC/ST Act, vandalising of statues among others. Even the no-confidence motion notices moved by opposition members could not be taken up as the Parliament kept getting adjourned due to protests and disruptions.