Finance Bill passed without discussion, Congress calls it a ‘black day for democracy’

The final full Budget of the BJP-led NDA government was passed in Lok Sabha Wednesday amid loud protests by the Opposition as the government deployed a procedure called “guillotine” to ensure that all outstanding demands for grants were put to vote at once without discussions.

With MPs from TDP, SP, YSR Congress, TRS and other parties shouting slogans in the well on various issues, ranging from the PNB fraud to the Andhra Pradesh special package, the Finance Bill and the Appropriation Bill with a spending plan of Rs 89.25 lakh crore were introduced, voted on and passed through voice vote – all within 30 minutes.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley moved 21 amendments to the Finance Bill, which contains taxation proposals for 2018-19. The Appropriation Bill details plans on how government ministries and departments would spend their money this fiscal. In effect, this year’s Budget exercise is complete. With the Rajya Sabha paralysed this session due to Opposition protests, the Finance Bill, classified as a money Bill, will be considered passed if the Upper House does not return it in 14 days.

The government decided to bring the Budget for approval early even though the session is scheduled till April 6.

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