Both Houses of Parliament ended the Budget Session prematurely on Monday in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The Lok Sabha passed the Finance Bill, 2020, without any discussion following the decision. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman moved over 40 amendments to the Finance Bill.
The decision to pass the amendments without discussion was taken at an all-party meeting chaired by Speaker Om Birla. However, some amendments the Opposition had moved were not passed. The bill gives effect to the financial proposals of the Centre for 2020-’21.
As Sitharaman was moving various amendments to the bill, Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MP TR Baalu tried to intervene as they wanted to know about a financial package for sectors impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.
“We are ready to pass the Finance Bill but we need to hear some announcement of an economic package from the Finance Minister,” Chowdhury said, according to The Hindu. However, Sitharaman did not respond.
Towards the end of the sitting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in the House and MPs gave a standing ovation to the first responders, medical professionals, essential services workers and media personnel for their role in combating Covid-19.
The Speaker mentioned the success of Sunday’s “janata curfew”. He added: “As we go back to our constituencies, we need to take on the challenge of this pandemic and turn a negative atmosphere into a positive one.”
The Lok Sabha was then adjourned without any date set for resumption. The Budget Session of Parliament was scheduled to end on April 3.
As many as 415 people have so far tested positive for the virus in India, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Seven of them have died.