New Delhi: Parliament on Wednesday approved the NDA government's sixth and final budget that gave income tax rebate to those earning up to ₹5 lakh, an annual cash dole of ₹6,000 to small farmers and pension for unorganised sector workers.
While the Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed the Appropriation Bills that authorised the government to spend certain sums till the next government presented the full Budget for 2019-20, and the Finance Bill after full debate, the Rajya Sabha passed them without discussion on Wednesday — the last day of the session.
The 13-day budget session was a washout in the Rajya Sabha, with Opposition parties stalling proceedings daily over issues ranging from the Rafale fighter jet deal to the Citizenship Bill.
On the last day on Wednesday, political parties arrived at a consensus to approve the Interim Budget as well as the Motion thanking the President for his address to the joint sitting of Parliament at the beginning of the session without a debate.
Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu referred to the consensus in the House after it met following a 40-minute adjournment caused by a ruckus created by the Samajwadi Party and the TMC over different issues.
Minister of state for finance Shiv Pratap Shukla moved the Appropriation Bills and the Finance Bill, which were approved by a voice vote.
Earlier minister of state for parliamentary affairs Vijay Goel made an appeal for adopting the Motion of Thanks to the President's address without a debate and the same was adopted by a voice vote.
The Motion, expressing gratitude to President Ram Nath Kovind for his address, was adopted after several amendments moved by Opposition leaders were withdrawn.
In the reply to the Budget in the Lok Sabha, finance minister Piyush Goyal had hit out at the Opposition for trying to "belittle" PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, which assures ₹6,000 yearly assistance to small farmers, saying those who live in palaces will not understand the importance of ₹2,000 every four months.
The minister also rejected the Opposition's charge that he presented a full budget, saying he did not propose any new tax concessions or schemes in the Interim Budget tabled in Parliament on February 1.
In contrast, the Congress had in the 2014 Interim Budget reduced taxes on SUVs, normally used by rich people, he said.
Referring to angel tax, he said during the Congress regime, shell companies were being promoted and his government had stopped that system.
"I want to assure the entire country and this House that we will protect the honest and punish the dishonest," Goyal said.
The NDA government, he said, is committed to the welfare of farmers, poor and middle class. The middle class will not have to pay any tax on income up to ₹9.5 lakh provided they invest in tax-saving instruments and avail the benefit of increased tax rebate limit to ₹5 lakh.
The story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed