Parliament adjourned sine dine, passes bill to set up National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development

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By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
March 25, 2021 4:26:02 pm

ParliamentThe Budget session started on January 29 and was originally slated to end on April 8. (File photo)

Both the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha were adjourned sine die on Thursday, bringing the nearly two-month long Budget session to an end. The session started on January 29 and was originally slated to end on April 8.

Many members of the Houses had earlier urged the government to curtail the sittings of the Budget session after Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla had tested positive for Covid-19.

While giving a brief account of the performance of the Rajya Sabha, Chairman Venkaiah Naidu said the Upper House functioned for a total of 104 hours as against the total scheduled time of 116 hours.

“Against a total of 33 sittings scheduled, from January 29 to April 8, we are concluding it after having 23 sittings,” he added. The Budget session provided the members of this House an opportunity to deliberate issues concerning economic growth and recovery especially in the post-Covid phase, he informed.

In his observations before adjourning the Lok Sabha, Bhartruhari Mehtab, who was in the chair, wished Birla a speedy recovery and informed members that the Speaker was stable. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, several cabinet ministers and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi were present in the House.

Earlier in the day, in the Lower House, BJP’s Chandraprakash Joshi asked about plans for solar energy parks near National Highways during the question hour. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said that “wherever we find space, we will encourage solar power”. “The first solar lane on the Delhi-Meerut highway saw the panels being stolen by people. So, we have had some bad experiences, but we are learning from it,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Rajya Sabha passed a Bill, by voice vote, to set up the National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development to fund infrastructure projects in India. Participating in a debate on the bill, some members raised the issue of lack of parliamentary oversight of the institution and demanded that the proposed legislation be sent to a select committee for scrutiny.

Replying to the debate, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman explained, “Every year audited accounts (of this bank) will come to each House of Parliament….so Parliament oversight (of the institution) is in-built in the bill.”

Section 26 of the bill provides, “The Institution shall furnish to the Central Government and the Reserve Bank within four months from the date on which its accounts are closed and balanced, a copy of its balance-sheet and accounts together with a copy of the auditor’s report and a report of the working of the Institution during the relevant year, and the Central Government shall, as soon as may be after they are received by it, cause the same to be laid before each House of Parliament.”

Thus, the development finance institution, called the National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development (NaBFID), will be answerable to Parliament.

The Joint Committee of Parliament examining the Personal Data Protection Bill was also given extension till the monsoon session to submit its report. The JCP was constituted in Lok Sabha in December 2019, and was expected to submit its report in the Budget session.

The motion seeking the extension was moved by BJP’s Meenakashi Lekhi.

(With inputs from PTI)

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