Neither of the two Houses of Parliament could transact any business on Monday, with the government introducing two Bills in the Lok Sabha, including the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018.
With little likelihood of the two Houses taking up any business in the rest of the week, the government could push for the passage of the Finance Bill amid the din in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has issued a whip to its members for Tuesday. The Finance Bill 2018 and the Appropriation Bill 2018 were listed as part of legislative business in the revised list of business of the Lok Sabha for Tuesday. The revised list of business also listed a vote on the outstanding demands for grants in respect of the 2018-19 Budget.
The ruling coalition and the Opposition busied themselves with ensuring that the nomination papers of its Rajya Sabha candidates are filed. Monday was the last day for filing of nominations for elections to 58 Rajya Sabha seats. The voting is on March 23.
A fallout of the Rajya Sabha polls was Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agrawal joining the BJP. Agrawal said he was upset at not being re-nominated by his party to the Rajya Sabha. The SP, which can only win one of the 10 seats falling vacant from Uttar Pradesh, has re-nominated Jaya Bachchan.
In Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday sacked state finance minister Haseeb Drabu from her council of ministers over his remarks at a function in New Delhi that Kashmir was not a political issue.
At the event, Drabu had said: "It (JK) is not a political issue as far as I can see. They have been barking up the wrong tree for the last 50 or 70 years by talking about the politics of it, that the political situation has never improved…. We seriously need to look at in terms of how it is a society that is in search for itself.”
The Congress and other Opposition parties also raised the issue in and outside Parliament of the protest march by farmers in Maharashtra. United Progressive Alliance chief Sonia Gandhi will be hosting a dinner for leaders of Opposition parties on Tuesday.
Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party has also sent out invites to Opposition leaders to attend a meeting on March 28. Party sources denied that the Telugu Desam Party had been invited, since it was still a part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, but said the Telangana Rashtra Samiti could be invited.
In the Lok Sabha, the government introduced the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill and the Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2018.
The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill seeks to confiscate all the assets of absconding fraudsters and loan defaulters for recovering dues from them. The objective of the Bill is to enable recovery by selling assets of defaulters who have an outstanding of Rs 10 million or more and have escaped from the country.
The Bill to streamline and strengthen the chit fund sector was introduced in the Lok Sabha, which mandates video conferencing while the opening of bids and seeks to raise the commission of foremen from 5% to 7%.