The government, in its Economic Survey for 2020-’21, tabled in the Parliament on Friday, said that India’s Gross Domestic Product growth rate will contract by 7.7% in this fiscal, while it is expected to grow by 11% in 2021-’22. Usually, the survey is tabled a day before the finance minister delivers the annual Budget speech. But this year, it has been tabled in Parliament three days before the presentation of the Union Budget on February 1.
The first day of the Budget session of Parliament began with President Ram Nath Kovind addressing a joint sitting of both the Houses. In his speech, Kovind said the insult to the tricolour and the violence on Republic Day during the farmer protest was unfortunate. He added that the rights and facilities of farmers will not be cut under the new laws.
Opposition parties, including the Congress, boycotted the president’s address in solidarity with the farmers protesting against the farm laws. Union minister RS Prasad called it unfortunate.
This is the first session of Parliament since the Monsoon Session was cut short due to concerns over the coronavirus. There was no Winter Session.
3.35 pm: Rajya Sabha adjourned till Monday, according to ANI.
3.20 pm: Budget session proceedings begin in Rajya Sabha, reports ANI.
3.01 pm: Economic Survey projects growth to contract by 7.7% in this fiscal, while it is expected to grow by 11% in 2021-’22, reports Reuters.
2.05 pm: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tables Economic Survey for 2021-’22 in Parliament, reports All India Radio News.
1.30 pm: Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury says the boycott of the president’s address is not an insult. “We’re standing with farmers and demanding that farm laws be taken back,” he adds. “It’s our biggest reason behind boycotting the address. We’ll debate when there is a Motion of Thanks and debate.”
1.29 pm: The Lok is adjourned till 11 am on Monday, February 1, reports ANI.
1.20 pm: Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad calls Opposition’s boycott of president’s address unfortunate.
12.43 pm: During the president’s address, RLP legislator Beniwal Hanuman held up a placard and shouted slogans against the farm laws.
12.40 pm: Aam Aadmi Party MP Sanjay Singh demands the repeal of farm laws. “We protested against the President’s address and raised slogans in support of farmers,” he tells ANI. “We were not allowed inside the Central Hall, so we raised slogans at its gate. Farmers are being called traitors. So, we boycotted the address.”
12.30 pm: The Rajya Sabha will resume at 3 pm today. The Economic Survey will be tabled at the Parliament today.
12.26 pm: President Kovind leaves from Parliament house.
12.20 pm: Vice President Venkaiah Naidu says the goal of “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” will be further strengthened by self-reliance in agriculture.
12.04 pm: The president says India has provided necessary medicines to more than 150 countries. “India is also committed to ensuring the availability of vaccines on a global scale,” he adds.
12.03 pm: President Kovind says 20 jawans made the supreme sacrifice in Galwan valley in June. “Every citizen is grateful to these martyrs,” he adds. “My government is committed to the protection of the interests of the nation. Extra Forces have been deployed at LAC for protection of India’s sovereignty.”
11.55 am: Kovind says the rehabilitation of Bru refugees is being carried out peacefully. “The historic Bodo peace agreement was also signed and successfully implemented. Bodoland Territorial Council election took place successfully after the agreement.”
11.51 am: Ram Nath Kovind says extremism in the northeast is nearing its end. “The youth that had gone astray is returning to the mainstream of development and nation-building,” he adds.
11.49 am: The president says India is an attractive destination for global investors.
11.45 am: President Kovind speaks on the new Parliament building. “It’s a delightful coincidence that the nation started construction while moving towards 75th year of independence,” he says. “The building will provide more facilities to MPs in carrying out their duties.”
11.36 am: The president says small and marginal farmers are the government’s priority. “To support such farmers in their small expenses, around Rs 1,13,000 crore have been transferred directly to their accounts, under PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi,” he adds.
11.33 am: “My government would like to clarify that the rights and facilities that were available before the formation of the three farm laws have not been cut short, in fact with these new agricultural reforms the government has provided new facilities and rights to farmers,” says Kovind.
11.26 am: Kovind adds that the Centre is working constantly to remove misconceptions related to the farm laws.
11.23 am: “Government respects freedom of expression and protests,” says President Kovind. “But what happened with the tricolour on Republic Day was very unfortunate. We need to respect law and order.”
11.20 am: More than 100 million farmers benefitting from farm laws passed seven months ago, says the president. “Laws currently stayed by Supreme Court, government will respect that,” he adds.
11.19 am: The government is making record purchases on MSP and is also coming up with more procurement centres, says President Kovind.
11.17 am: The president says the focus of the “Aatmnirbhar Bharat” is also on farm sector. “The government has decided to give MSP according to Swaminathan recommendation,” he adds.
11.10 am: Kovind praises the government for taking timely decisions. “The number of recoveries is very high,” he adds.
11.09 am: In his speech, the president pays tribute to those legislators who lost their lives during the pandemic.
11.07 am: Shiromani Akali Dal MPs and RLP legislator Hanuman Beniwal speak with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
11.05 am: The president says the joint session of Parliament amid the coronavirus pandemic is essential. “It’s a new year and a new decade and we’re also entering into the 75th year of independence,” he adds. “Today all MPs are present here with message and trust that however tough be the challenge neither we nor India will stop.”
11.02 am: President Ram Nath Kovind addresses the joint session of Parliament.
11 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says Nirmala Sitharaman has presented four-five mini budgets in 2020, making this an exceptional year. “The Union Budget will be seen as a continuation of those,” he adds.
10.58 am: President arrives in Parliament.
10.39 am: The government has made elaborate security arrangements keeping in view the ongoing farmer protest. Staffers at North Block and South Block will use the rear gates rather than the Rajpath and Vijay Chowk to reach their offices. No vehicle will be allowed to be parked in earmarked parking areas and pavements adjoining Rajpath from early morning till the return of the president to the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
10.38 am: Ram Nath Kovind will arrive in the Parliament complex around 11am in the President’s horse-driven carriage, reports Hindustan Times.
10.37 am: A brief background of the Indian economy
The economy saw its worst contraction in decades, with the Gross Domestic Product shrinking by a record 23.9% in the April to June quarter, and reflected the severe impact of the coronavirus-induced lockdown. India’s GDP growth rate contracted by 7.5% for the second quarter (July-September).
With this, India slipped into a technical recessionary phase for the first time ever – when its GDP growth is negative or declining for two consecutive quarters or more. The new figures firmly established the country’s position among the world’s worst-performing major economies.
10.30 am: In his first Survey in 2019, Subramanian had set an agenda of achieving 8% sustained Gross Domestic Product growth to make India a $5-trillion economy by 2024, as envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi after his re-election in 2019. But the coronavirus pandemic has severely impacted India’s growth this year, sending its already-teetering economy into an apparent recession.
10.28 am: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will table the Economic Survey for 2021-’22 in Parliament’s Budget Session on Friday, News18 reports. This year’s document, prepared by Chief Economic Adviser KV Subramanian and his team, will be tabled in Parliament three days before the presentation of the Union Budget on February 1.
10.22 am: 16 Opposition parties, including the Congress, on Thursday said they have decided to boycott the president’s address in solidarity with the farmers protesting against the farm laws.
In a joint statement, the parties said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party government have remained “arrogant, adamant and undemocratic” in their response to the farmers’ demand of repealing the agricultural laws. The parties also demanded the withdrawal of the three contentious legislations. The Opposition parties also alleged that the central government agencies had a role orchestrating the violence that broke out during the farmers’ tractor rally on Republic Day.
10.20 am: The proceedings will be curtailed with staggered timings and physical distancing rules, in view of the pandemic. Like the previous session, both the Houses will sit in shifts, with the Rajya Sabha meeting in the forenoon and Lok Sabha in the evening between 4 pm and 9 pm, as part of health measures adopted due to Covid-19.
10.15 am: The Budget Session, which begins today and will conclude on April 8, is set to be stormy one, with the Opposition set to take on the government over the contentious agricultural laws amid the farmers’ protests.