The 2nd week of the second leg of the 2023 budget session of parliament was no different from the first. The house was adjourned repeatedly because of the protests by the opposition demanding a discussion & enquiry into the issues of the Adani group, and protests by the treasury benches demanding an apology from Rahul Gandhi for his comments abroad. The demand for grants may be passed without any discussion or debate.
The second leg of the ‘2023 Budget Session’ of parliament continued into the second week. Factly’s review of the first four days of this session can be read here. The house continued to be repeatedly adjourned during the next few days with the treasury benches continuing their protest demanding an apology from Rahul Gandhi for his remarks, and the opposition demanding an enquiry and Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) into the issues related to the Adani group. Here is a review of the important developments between 17 March 2023 and 23 March 2023.
Four bills were introduced so far in the second leg of the budget session. The first bill was “The Inter-Services Organisations (Command, Control and Discipline) Bill, 2023” introduced on 15 March 2023. The details of this bill can be read in our earlier update. Three more bills were introduced in the Lok Sabha, all three being Appropriation Bills.
Two of these bills are Jammu and Kashmir Appropriation Bills. These bills allow the Centre to authorise payment and appropriation of certain sums from and out of the consolidated Fund of the union territory. Both these bills were introduced in the Lok Sabha on 21 March 2023 and were passed through a voice vote in Lok Sabha. Lok Sabha was able to pass the Budget of the UT of Jammu & Kashmir 2023-24 along with the Supplementary demands for grants for Jammu and Kashmir for 2022-23, apart from both these Appropriation Bills.
Furthermore, The Appropriation (No.2) Bill, 2023 was also introduced in the Lok Sabha. The Bill was introduced in the House by Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Choudhary. It was passed in the Lok Sabha on 21 March 2023 without any discussion and through a voice vote. The bill authorised payment and appropriation of more than 2.7 lakh crore rupees from and out of Consolidated Fund of India for the services related to the financial year 2022-23.
This was the only legislative work taken up in Lok Sabha during the second leg of the Monsoon session. Meanwhile, no legislative work was undertaken in Rajya Sabha so far with multiple adjournments including on 23 March 2023.
Various Standing Reports Submitted
While very little legislative business was carried out in both houses of the parliament, various Standing Committee reports were submitted. Here is an overview of the Standing Committee Reports submitted in Parliament:
- “Twenty-Second Report on the subject “Groundwater: A valuable but diminishing resource” was submitted by the Committee on Water Resources.
- The Committee on Housing and Urban Affairs submitted its Seventeenth Standing Committee Report. The topic was on “Evaluation of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban).”
- The estimates committee submitted three reports on 21 March 2023. These were its 23rd, 24th & 25th Reports, all of which are reports on actions taken by the Government on the recommendations. The subjects are – “Review of Funds Allocation and Utilization under MPLAD scheme”, “Review of Progress of all AIIMS” & “Review of National Disaster Response Force” respectively.
- The committee on Chemicals & Fertilisers submitted its 39th Report on Nano-Fertilisers for sustainable crop production and maintaining soil health.
The reports relating to Demands for Grants from various ministries and departments were submitted in both houses. A few of the Ministries/Departments include – Defence, Social Justice & Empowerment, Chemicals & Fertilisers, Coals, Mines & Steel, Communication & Information Technology, Housing & Urban Affairs, Water Resources etc.
Any regular business in both houses was severely obstructed by the protests of both the treasury benches and the opposition. Apart from the impact on the legislative business, other regular business was also affected.
Questions raised in both the Houses of Parliament and the responses by the Government are a key part of the parliamentary proceedings. Each day of the business, the questions to be asked in the parliament are listed. These include questions which sought an oral response as well as those for which a written response was needed. While there was little scope of raising these questions in both the houses of the parliament and getting a response from the government, there were many questions for which the government has tabled a response in written form.
The Ministries relating to which the questions were raised in the Lok Sabha include Jal Shakti, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Power, Road Transport & Highways, Civil Aviation, Petroleum & Natural Gas, New & Renewable Energy, MSME, Minority Affairs, Housing & Urban Affairs, Power, Railways, Communications, Commerce & Industry, Home Affairs, Earth Sciences etc.
A few of the responses by the Government include:
- Data relating to Homeless People as per the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs
- Update by Ministry of Jal Shakti on Tap Water connections in Rural Areas. In a different response, the Ministry also provided information on Per capita water availability.
- Ministry of Power provided details on the Status of various Power projects.
- Responses to various questions relating to green and renewable energy were provided by respective ministries.
- An Update was provided by the Ministry of Consumer Affirms with respect to the concerns relating to the low stock of Wheat and Rice.
In Rajya Sabha, the responses were provided by the government in respect to the questions relating to – Women & Child Development, Social Justice, Health & Family Welfare, New & Renewable energy, Housing & Urban Affairs, Jal Shakti etc.
Status of the business as on 23 March 2023
Both sides continued with their protests resulting in the adjournment of both Rajya Sabha & Lok Sabha. Two main business items which were meant to be carried out today include a discussion on Demands for Grants as well as a discussion on the Appropriation bill.
Since there is very little scope for discussions and normal proceedings even after resumptions, all the demands are expected to be passed through guillotining. Furthermore, there is also uncertainty on whether the current session of the parliament would continue in view of the logjam.