Lok Sabha passes budget without debate even as protests continue

New Delhi Marc 14: The Lok Sabha today passed without discussion the Financial Bill 2018 and a Rs 89.25 lakh crore spending plan for the next fiscal year beginning April 1, all in a matter of 25 minutes during which opposition parties shouted slogans and created the din.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitely’s 21 amendments to the Bill, which contains taxation proposals for 2018-19, were approved by voice vote, and so was the Appropriation Bill which detailed spending plans for 99 government ministries and departments.

With this, the Parliamentary approval for the Modi government’s fifth and final Budget is complete in the Lok Sabha.

It is probably the first time in recent years that the Lok Sabha had not discussed and voted even a single ministry’s demand for grants (spending plan). In the recent past, Union Budgets were passed without discussion in 2013-14 and 2003-04 when, like today, all demands were guillotined.

The amendments approved by the Lok Sabha included the one providing for grandfathering of capital gains accrued on unlisted entities till January 31. It also provided for a methodology for valuation of capital gains.

In the Budget for 2018-19 presented on February 1, Jaitley brought back a tax on long-term capital gains on listed equities. Long-term capital gains of over Rs 1 lakh will be taxed at 10 pepercentHowever, all gains up to January 31, 2018 will be grandfathered, he had said in the Budget speech.

The Lok Sabha passed the appropriation bills after negating several cut motions moved by the opposition parties.

With opposition paralysing the functioning of Parliament in the second half of the Budget session over issues ranging from India’s biggest bank fraud at PNB to sharing of Cauvery waters and special package for Andhra Pradesh, the government decided to bring the budget for approval even though the session is scheduled to go on till April 6.

It was taken up soon after the House met after the first adjournment of proceedings at the beginning of the day.

The Lok Sabha also later passed, through a voice vote, the fourth batch of supplementary demands for grants for 2017-18. The fourth batch involved cash outgo of Rs 85,315 crore, mainly on compensating states for loss of revenue from implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST).

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