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Rare bonhomie

Rare bonhomie
Highlights

The just concluded Parliament session could be called one of the most productive sessions in the recent times despite the rancor and bitterness witnessed, more in the first-half. For record sake, the Lok Sabha worked for 108% of the scheduled hours and Rajya Sabha for 86% to pass 18 Bills including the all important ones like the GST-related Bills and the Finance Bill. 

The just concluded Parliament session could be called one of the most productive sessions in the recent times despite the rancor and bitterness witnessed, more in the first-half. For record sake, the Lok Sabha worked for 108% of the scheduled hours and Rajya Sabha for 86% to pass 18 Bills including the all important ones like the GST-related Bills and the Finance Bill.

The Finance Bill amended the existing taxation laws with provisions related to political funding, search and seizure by income tax authorities and making Aadhaar mandatory for PAN and IT returns. These two have strengthened the reforms taken up by the Centre under the leadership of Modi.

The best moment in the House was when Congress RS Member Jairam Ramesh withdrew the amendment to highlight how the House was being taken for granted by the government during the passage of the GST Bill, at the behest of Dr Manmohan Singh to maintain the fine balance in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council.

After the GST Bill was passed by the Upper House, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley walked over to the Opposition benches and thanked them for the gesture. The session began with TMC's dissent over demonetisation and its decision to boycott the first two days of proceedings. The voice of the Opposition was more strident in picking up holes in Budget 2017-18 in the first-half.

But the government firmly kept its eye on the important Bills and treaded the ground carefully. The body language of the Treasury benches changed completely in the second-half after the UP results and it preferred to bulldoze the Opposition protests over forming governments in Goa and Manipur despite lack of numbers.

The killing of Phelu Khan in Alwar for transporting a cow also rocked the Parliament as also the efforts to change the eating habits of people, with the Opposition questioning the lawlessness of the fringe groups. People would also remember this session for yet another ignominy forced on the nation - the conduct of Ravindra Gaekwad, a Shiv Sena MP, in thrashing an Air India senior staffer and then proclaiming to the world that he had hit him "25 times with his chappal.”

The entire nation breathlessly watched the blackmailing of the ally in the Lok Sabha and was also shocked at the unanimity displayed by the lawmakers in springing to the rescue of their colleague. Ashok Gajapati Raju, the Union Civil Aviation Minister, seemed to be the lone sentinel in upholding the law of the land.

It also led to the shameful conduct of another Union Minister rushing to Raju threateningly. The last two days were marred by the comments of Tarun Vijay's racist rant and a West Bengal BJP's leader's 'behead Mamata' remark.

Still, the growing sense of insecurity among various sections of the country was left unaddressed sadly! There is another sore point that baffles one and all. Why did not our lawmakers discuss Kashmir imbroglio threadbare? Should it not have been? Or is it not a problem at all?

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