Lok Sabha approves Finance Bill without discussion amid corona scare

The Bill was passed to ensure that the Centre's spending did not come to a grinding halt at the end of the current financial year

Lok Sabha members were focused so much on Covid-19 that the Finance Bill was approved at breakneck speed. Photo: Lok Sabha TV (File)

As concern over the spread of coronavirus increases in the country, Lok Sabha was adjourned sine die on Monday (March 23), after approving the all-important Finance Bill without any discussion.

The House functioned only during the second half, during which the Finance Bill 2020 was passed to ensure that the Centre’s spending did not come to a grinding halt at the end of the current financial year.

Before the Lok Sabha assembled at 2pm, Speaker Om Birla met leaders of all major political parties and it was decided that the Budget Session should be brought to an end to ensure that Coronavirus spread does not happen at Parliament House.

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Appreciation to Doctors

Prior to the adjournment, Speaker Om Birla appreciated doctors and medical staff fighting at the frontline against Covid-19. He recalled Sunday’s ‘Janata Curfew’ and the gratitude shown to the medical fraternity by clapping at 5 pm.

Then all members of the House stood up and clapped in appreciation of doctors and medical staff. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah were also present.

The Budget Session was scheduled to go on till April 3, but was cut short due to the scare about Coronavirus spreading rapidly and the emphasis on social distancing.

Covid-19 Relief Package Sought

As the Finance Bill and the amendments to it were passed without discussion, Congress’ Adhir Ranjan Chaudhury demanded a package to those affected by Coronavirus pandemic. Get the Bill and amendments passed, but announce a package before doing that, he appealed.

However, there was no reply by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman or no package announced as the Lok Sabha passed the Finance Bill as agreed at the meeting convened by the Speaker earlier.

Thin Attendance

Attendance in Lok Sabha was thinner than usual, and more importantly members were focused so much on Covid-19 that the Finance Bill was approved at breakneck speed. Speaker Om Birla appealed to the members to promote and practice social distancing when they go back to their constituencies.

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