Budget session: Congress resists move to present Uttarakhand budget bill in RS

New Delhi: As Congress won the Uttarakhand confidence motion, its party members in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday resisted the move to present the state's budget Bill by the government which insisted that it was a Constitutional necessity.

The Congress members also vociferously pressed for a discussion on CAG report which has reportedly highlighted irregularities in Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation's KG basin gas project, leading to two adjournments.

As the Upper House met after lunch recess by when the outcome of Uttarakhand confidence motion was clear, Congress members were up on their feet shouting slogans against the central government. "Loktantra ke hatyaro, sharm karo (Feel ashamed, you murderers of democracy)," they chanted.

Amidst the din, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien tried to initiate discussion on Union Finance Bill but Congress leader Anand Sharma raised questions over the move to bring the Uttarakhand budget bill in the Supplementary list.

Contending that the state assembly had already passed its budget, he said passing the Uttrakhand budget is not the responsibility of this House" and termed it a "Constitutional impropriety."

Slamming the "mental and moral bankruptcy of the government", Sharma also asked why the Uttarakhand budget bill had been brought in the Supplemntary list.

Leader of House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley responded by saying that the passing of the state budget on 18 March was "highly contentious" as the arithematic was highly loaded against it.

He emphasised that the order of appropriation has to be sanctioned by Parliament as all expenditure from 1 April has to be validated.

Representational iamge. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The Finance Minister said if the state assembly revives, it can pass its budget but insisted that the bill has to be passed to provide sanction to all expenditure made since 1 April, when the President's Rule was in force.

This, he said, has nothing to do with what happened in the floor test in the state assembly on Tuesday.

However, Sharma and other Congress members appeared not convinced by the argument. Jaitley also mentioned that the state budget had not received the assent of the Governor which is a necessity.

Kurien said he too was in agreement that the House should pass the Bill to sanction the expenditure during President's Rule. He also told members that the Bill is a 'Money Bill' which would anyway come into force even if Rajya Sabha does not give its nod.

Chiding the protesting members, Kurien said there are people questioning the relevance of Rajya Sabha and by refusing to discuss Bills, they were making it irrelevant.

Congress member Pramod Tiwari, however, said that while the Finance Minister's assumption is that the Budget was not passed by the state assembly, his party believes it was passed.

CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said the "political point" seemed that the government was keen to pass the state's budget when the matter was to come before the Supreme Court.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi urged the chair to pass the Bills by voice vote.

Even as no consensus over the Uttarakhand budget issue appeared imminent, Congress member Jairam Ramesh raised the issue related to CAG report on GSPC. He said he had given a notice for a short duration discussion on the issue 11 days back but had got no response.

Other Congress members too then rose on their feet and reached the Well of the House shouting slogans "20 hazar ka kya hua" (What happened to 20,000 crore) and "Modi teri tanashahi nahin chalegi" (Modi your dictatorship won't be accepted).

SP member Jaya Bachchan then rose and protested that she too had given a notice for discussion on women's issue three months back and had got no response. She claimed that there are some parties who block proceedings when their discussions are not allowed.

As the ruckus prevailed, Kurien adjourned the house for fifteen minutes till 3 pm.

Updated Date: May 10, 2016 17:59 PM

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