THE Budget Session began as usual with the President’s Address to the Joint Session of Parliament on January 31. After this, the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha met and made obituary references. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley laid the copy of the Economic Survey 2016-17 in both the Houses.
The next day, after former Union Minister and Lok Sabha MP from Indian Union Muslim League E Ahamed, who collapsed during President Pranab Mukherjee's address and died in hospital, there was a long suspense over whether the government would adjourn the House or the Finance Minister would present the budget. The Left and other opposition parties demanded postponement of the Budget speech but the Speaker did not allow and said that the day was specifically fixed by the President for presentation of Union Budget for the financial year 2017-18, the House may go ahead. However, the House would not sit the next day as a mark of respect to the departed soul. The speech was started and subsequently, the Kerala MPs from all the party walked out and boycotted the Budget speech. In fact, the government delayed the announcement of Ahamed's death and put the fact in hold because they thought they would take the decision after presentation of the budget. In this regard, Sitaram Yechury told a press conference in Parliament that even Ahamed's daughter was not being allowed to see him. His daughter is a doctor. When she insisted, legally they couldn't stop her from going and she goes there and finds him dead. They wanted to keep the body there till the budget was presented and then make the announcement. This was absolutely inhuman and the body started decomposing, he said.
In the Rajya Sabha, Sitaram Yechury raised this issue with anger and anguish and sought proper and thorough investigation into the manner the death of Ahamed was handled and the way the news of his death was sought to be suppressed. There has been interference from the highest authorities in the country, PMO, and this is something that cannot be accepted. This issue must be thoroughly investigated, he demanded.
After a gap of one day when the Lok Sabha met, CPI(M) leader P Karunakaran Leader Lok Sabha and other MPs of CPI(M) and other parties given the adjournment motion regarding how the E. Ahamed case was handled and due to hue and cry the Lok Sabha adjourned.
In the Rajya Sabha the next day discussion on Motion of Thanks on the President's Address started which was not concluded Sitaram Yechury moved his amendments in Rajya Sabha. More than 60 Amendments was given in both the houses on this President's address.
Rajya Sabha MP Tapan Kumar Sen raised the February 3 nationwide strike by medical sales representatives seeking cost plus reasonable return, and demanded the intervention of the minister.
Jharna Das Baidya raised the matter of severe drought in southern states and demanded immediate release of funds from the National Disaster Response Fund. T K Rangarajan also raised the drought situation in Tamil Nadu where there was crop failure in the entire state.
C P Narayanan raised the serious situation in ration distribution in Kerala. From 20 lakh tonnes of food grains which Kerala was getting, it has now been reduced to 14.4 lakh tonnes which is not sufficient as the price of rice has gone up.
Rajya Sabha MP Ritabrata Banerjee raised the issue of declaring Andaman Cellular Jail as a national monument. He said the Andaman Cellular Jail is not under the Archaeological Survey of India. The revolutionaries had gone into this Andaman Jail in two phases and registered history is up to the first phase but the second phase is not properly registered. Majority of names carved in the marble are from West Bengal. The Chittagong youth rebellion was one of the most important incidents that took place at that time in undivided India. Unfortunately, names of these revolutionaries are missing from Andaman Cellular Jail. Names of these people must be included, he said. (END)