Faced with paucity of time, Rajya Sabha on Thursday approved Union Budget 2013-14 without debate, a development witnessed perhaps for the first time which triggered protests from opposition members.
With only one day left for the house to go into month-long recess, the chair directed members to lay their written speeches so that the crucial money bill could be returned in time. Lok Sabha has already passed this bill.
EMS Natchiappan, who was in the chair, said a decision has been taken by Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari that members could lay their speeches in the limit of 400 words either on the table of the House or electronically later and it would become part of the proceedings.
But members from BJP, JD-U, SP, TMC and other parties protested against the word limit, following which Natchiappan relaxed it.
M Venkaiah Naidu (BJP) took strong exception to the general budget being passed without discussion.
“Who decided it? It never happened,” he shouted, as many members from opposition parties were on their feet.
Even SP, which supports the government from outside, also backed Naidu with its members arguing that there was no time to write the speeches.
The members insisted that Finance Minister P Chidambaram should go through all the written speeches and respond to the points raised by them.
Chidambaram then assured the members that important points raised by them would be culled out and a reply sent to them. Besides, the Government will write to ministries concerned regarding individual points raised by members.
While laying his written speech “with lot of agony and pain”, Naidu said a “very bad precedent” was being set.
“It is government’s failure to manage the situation that has resulted in this,” he said.
N K Singh (JD-U) was also sarcastic when he said “I thank members for a very patient listening” as he laid his written speech.
A similar procedure was followed for approving the budget for Jharkhand, which is under President’s rule.