Both Houses of Parliament were adjourned sine die – with no appointed date for resumption – on Wednesday, the last day of the Budget Session, which is the final session before elections are held in summer.
The Comptroller and Auditor General tabled a report in Parliament with details of the Rafale defence deal. The Centre had hoped to pass the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, and the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, commonly known as the triple talaq bill, in the Rajya Sabha. But they have both now lapsed as they were not passed on Wednesday.
Here are the day’s updates from Parliament:
5.18 pm: Lok Sabha adjourned sine die.
5.10 pm: Speaker Sumitra Mahajan delivers her valedictory speech.
5 pm: Modi concludes his speech with special thanks to Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav, who had praised the prime minister’s work and wished him a second term.
4.55 pm: The prime minister praises Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and seeks forgiveness for any offences he may have committed.
4.53 pm: Modi also takes potshots at Gandhi’s infamous hug and wink. In July, Gandhi ended a fiery, adversarial speech, which had been interrupted by the ruling party, with a declaration that he harboured no hate for the BJP and then proceeded to walk to the other side of Parliament and gave a hug to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, even though the latter remained seated. Modi was seemingly startled before offering Gandhi a handshake. As Gandhi returned to his seat, he was caught smiling broadly and winking at a colleague.
4.50 pm: Modi takes a dig at Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s statement that there would be an earthquake if he was allowed to speak in Parliament. There has been no quake in the last five years, says Modi.
“Big personalities tried to fly aircrafts,” he adds, referring to the corruption allegations in the Rafale defence deal. “The power of democracy is such that no aircraft could bring down this government.”
4.45 pm: India’s economy is ‘a matter of pride’, says Modi. “Every member of the House contributed for its productivity. The country is knocking on the door to becoming a $5-trillion economy,” Narendra Modi says.
“India suffered globally for long due to fractured mandates, it is now taken seriously because of the majority government,” the prime minister adds, according to PTI.
4.43 pm: It is this Lok Sabha that passed the Goods and Services Tax, he says. “The GST process revealed the spirit of cooperation and bipartisanship,” he adds. The House passed 203 bills out of the 219 ones introduced, he adds.
4.42 pm: The prime minister congratulates the House for passing several stringent laws against black money and corruption.
4.39 pm: “The world is discussing global warming and India made an effort in the form of the International Solar Alliance to mitigate this menace,” Modi adds.
4.35 pm: “We will be proud of this 16th Lok Sabha, as it saw the highest number of women members elected to the House,” he adds. Forty-four first-time women MPs were elected to the Lok Sabha this year. The prime minister also appreciates the work of Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and says: “We have two women ministers and also a woman Speaker.”
4.33 pm: “The country’s self-confidence is at an all-time high,” Modi tells the House. He adds that the confidence boosts development.
4.32 pm: Several session in this Lok Sabha were productive, says Modi.
4.31 pm: Modi begins his final speech in the Lok Sabha before the 2019 General Elections.
4.29 pm: Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav says he wants to see Narendra Modi become the prime minister for a second term.
3.32 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in the House.
2.20 pm: The Lok Sabha is adjourned till 3 pm.
1.54 pm: To summarise the key findings of the CAG report,
- The deal signed in 2016 by the Narendra Modi government to buy 36 fighter jets from France was 2.86% cheaper than the offer made to the previous government in 2007.
- Compared to the deal negotiated by the Congress-led government for 126 jets, the one finalised by the Modi government managed to save 17.08% for the India-specific enhancements in the Rafale jets.
- The final deal was 6.54% costlier in terms of engineering support package and performance-based logistics.
Also read: Final Rafale deal was 2.9% cheaper than offer negotiated by UPA government, says CAG report
‘The truth shall prevail’, says Arun Jaitley after CAG tables report on agreement
1.20 pm: Before adjourning, the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed a Bill removing leprosy as a ground for divorce under five personal laws including the Hindu Marriage Act.
1.15 pm: The Lok Sabha passes The Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2018, reports PTI.
1.10 pm: “Rahul Gandhi has constantly lied,” former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan tells ANI. “If someone has to be given a tag of ‘mahajhootha’ or an award for it then he’ll be the first contender. He has no shame. The way he had lied in Rafale matter, all his facts and documents are turning out to be false.”
1 pm: Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati says the auditor general’s report on Rafale is “neither complete nor fully correct in the eyes of public”.
12.50 pm: Both the Citizenship Bill and the triple talaq bill have now lapsed since they were not passed in the Rajya Sabha during this session.
12.48 pm: The Rajya Sabha has been adjourned sine die, ANI reports. This means no date has been set for its resumption. Wednesday is the last day of the Budget session of Parliament.
12.45 pm: The Rajya Sabha passes the Interim Budget, Finance Bill, without debate.
12.40 pm: The Rajya Sabha reconvenes at 12.30 pm, and passes the Motion of Thanks on President Ram Nath Kovind’s address at the beginning of the Budget session, without debate, PTI reports.
12.39 pm: The Hindu has reported earlier on Wednesday that the NDA’s Rafale deal was “not on better terms” than the one signed by the UPA. The newspaper has quoted from a dissent note written by three senior defence ministry officials who were the domain experts on the seven-member Indian negotiating team.
12.22 pm: As protests continue, the Rajya Sabha has been adjourned till 12.30 pm after it reconvened at noon, The Hindu reports.
12.18 pm: A Ministry of Defence team in 2015 had recommended the scrapping of the 126 Rafale deal, but added that Dassault Aviation was not the lowest bidder, the CAG report says. The report adds that the ministry said Dassault Aviation’s proposal should have been rejected in the technical stage itself as it did not conform to Indian requirements.
12.10 pm: The report says the Indian Air Force did not define the Air Staff Qualitative Requirements properly, so none of the vendors could fully meet them. These requirements were changed frequently during the procurement process.
12 pm: “Satyameva Jayate – the truth shall prevail,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley tweets. “The lies of the ‘mahajhootbandhan’ stand exposed by the CAG report. How does democracy punish those who consistently lied to the nation? It cannot be that the Supreme Court is wrong, the CAG is wrong and only the dynast [Rahul Gandhi] is right.”
11.52 am: However, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said before the session began that the CAG report is of no value, as it has been prepared by a person who was a negotiator of the deal, ANI reports.
11.49 am: The CAG report says that the Rafale deal the NDA negotiated is 2.8% cheaper than the one the UPA had agreed to, NDTV reports, adding that it has accessed the document.
11.38 am: The CAG report says that compared to the UPA’s deal for 126 jets, the NDA managed to save 17.08% for the India Specific Enhancements in the Rafale jets, ANI reports.
11.20 am: Both Houses of Parliament have been adjourned till noon following ruckus, The Hindu reports.
11.11 am: The Centre tables the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report on capital acquisitions in the Indian Air Force in the Rajya Sabha. The report also includes details on the Rafale deal between India and France, ANI reports.
10.50 am: Congress President Rahul Gandhi, United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh protest outside Parliament against the aircraft deal, along with other Congress MPs before the start of the last day of the Budget session on Wednesday, Republic TV reports.
10.40 am: Congress chief Rahul Gandhi says he will hold a press conference at 3.30 pm on his criticism of the Rafale deal.
10.38 am: A joint meeting of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Congress Parliamentary Party has concluded in Parliament.