Lok Sabha passes Finance Bill


New Delhi, Apr 30: Although the UPA Government completed the budgetary exercise with the passage of Finance Bill without a debate, the growing chasm between the treasury benches and the premier opposition party the BJP was more evident on Tuesday with the saffron party declaring to boycott meetings convened by Speaker Meira Kumar and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath.
This gave a clear indication that the Budget Session of Parliament was all but over as the focus has now shifted to Karnataka Assembly elections to be held on May 5. This will be followed by polls to nearly half a dozen state assemblies with the grapevine rife over possibility of an early Lok Sabha election.
Declaring the intent of her party, Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj launched a tirade against the Congress president Sonia Gandhi for “inciting” MPs and ministers to disrupt her speech in the House. She also said Gandhi had no respect for democratic institutions.
Leaving none in doubt about the fate of the remaining period of Budget Session, Sushma commented: “It is a situation of total breakdown but the government is responsible not me.”  She said the “countdown” for the government’s fall had begun.
The Government had to draw solace as BJP-led opposition parties agreed to ensure passage of the Finance Bill which is a Constitutional obligation. The demands for grants for various ministries were also passed without debate.
However, the BJP staged walkout over the coal issue, while Left, BJD and AIADMK left the House to protest against passage of important Bills without discussion. DMK too walked out demanding removal of the JPC chief P C Chacko.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram also exempted Railways from payment of service tax for a period between July, 1, 2010 to October 1, 2012 to avoid burden on the state-owned carrier.
Making a brief statement while moving the Finance Bill for voting, he introduced an amendment on the issue of wealth tax in view of misapprehensions as to whether it will apply to agriculture land.
“There was apprehension that wealth tax was being imposed on agricultural land. Let me make it absolutely clear that the policy of the UPA government is not to impose wealth tax on agriculture land,” he said.
The main provocation for the BJP leader to declare boycott of Speaker’s and Parliamentary Affairs Minister’s meeting came after Supreme Court criticized the Government for interfering in the CBI probe into the allocation of coal blocks. The Apex Court had earlier in the day slammed the CBI for sharing its probe report with Law Minister Ashwani Kumar and other government officials.
The Apex court also asked the CBI director to file an affidavit stating the changes made in the draft report vetted by Kumar.

Lastupdate on : Tue, 30 Apr 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 30 Apr 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 1 May 2013 00:00:00 IST

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