Lok Sabha on Thursday approved the Union Budget envisaging an expenditure of around Rs 45 lakh crore for the fiscal year starting April 1 without any discussion, as the Opposition continued to create ruckus over demand for a JPC probe into allegations against the Adani Group.
The Lower House of Parliament took up the Demands for Grants and Appropriation Bills after two adjournments as the ruling and Opposition MPs engaged in a matching duet over demands for an apology by Rahul Gandhi and the Adani issue.
Most of the second leg of the Budget Session has been washed out due to the protest by both sides and it was one of the rare occasions when the Budget was passed without any discussion.
Soon after the Lok Sabha reassembled at 6 pm after two adjournments, Speaker Om Birla put the Opposition’s cut motion or amendments to the government spending plan to vote which was rejected by voice vote. This was followed by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharman moving the demands for grants for 2023-24 and relevant Appropriation Bills for discussion and voting.
Birla applied guillotine and put demands for grants of all ministries for voting. The demands were passed as the Opposition MPs trooped into the Well of the House shouting slogans.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present during the passage of Budget for 2023-24.
The entire exercise was over in 12 minutes completing two-third of the parliamentary approval for the Budget for 2023-24.
The Finance Bill 2023, which contains tax proposals that Sitharaman had moved while presenting the Budget on February 1, will now be taken up by the Lok Sabha possibly on Friday.
All the budget-related bills will be transmitted to Rajya Sabha, which cannot make any changes but only return them to the Lok Sabha after discussion as they are classified as ‘money bills’ requiring approval of the Lower House only.
The current Parliament session is scheduled to end on April 6. There is speculation that the duration of the session may be curtailed after completion of the budgetary exercise.
Unlike the past, the Lok Sabha this time did not discuss the Demands for Grants of the identified ministries. The Business Advisory Committee had approved discussion on the ministries of railway, rural development, health and family welfare, Panchayati Raj, tribal affairs and, tourism and culture.
However, no discussion could take place because of continuous disruption of the House after it reassembled for the second leg of the Budget session.
According to the Budget papers, the total expenditure in 2023-24 is estimated at Rs 45,03,097 crore, of which total capital expenditure has been pegged at Rs 10,00,961 crore.
During the current financial year ending March 31, 2023, the total expenditure has been estimated at Rs 41,87,232 crore, which is more than the outlay of of 2021-22 by Rs 3,93,431 crore.
Besides other things, the Budget 2023-24 reflects continuing commitment of the Union government to boost economic growth by investing in infrastructure development and increasing capital expenditure by 37.4 per cent over revised estimate of 2022-23.
Effective capital expenditure has been estimated at Rs 13,70,949 crore in 2023-24 showing an increase of 30.1 per cent over RE 2022-23.
With regard to fiscal deficit, the Budget proposed to bring it down to 5.9 per cent of the GDP from 6.4 per cent likely in the current financial year.
To finance the fiscal deficit in 2023-24, the government plans the net market borrowings at Rs 11.8 lakh crore from dated securities.