Making of history, break from tradition, disruptions — an action-packed 2017 for Parliament

NEW DELHI: Making of history, break from tradition, repeated disruptions along with entry and exit of political heavyweights made 2017 a year to remember in the history of Indian Parliament.
For the first time, the presentation of the Union budget was advanced to February 1 and the Railway budget was also merged with it.
The Government termed it as a big financial reform so as to make full funds available to Union ministries for execution of their developmental projects before the beginning of the financial year.
The major landmark in the year was the passage of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill, which resulted in the ushering in of a new indirect tax regime in the country. All the four bills related to it were passed in the budget session.
To celebrate its passage, the Government called a midnight joint parliamentary session, an unusual offing from the usually stormy Parliament, but was boycotted by the most of the opposition.
This session was called at the midnight of June 30, as the GST was to be implemented from July 1.
However, certain other important bills could not see the light of day including one seeking to give constitutional status to the OBC body, National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC). It got stuck in the Upper House where the Government lacks a majority.
At the fag end of the year, an important legislation to criminalise the practice of instant triple talaq was passed by the Lok Sabha.
During the year, Parliament also witnessed debut, retirement and resignation of political heavyweights mainly in the Rajya Sabha.
The year witnessed the entry of BJP chief Amit Shah in the Rajya Sabha, while the BSP supremo Mayawati resigned and CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury retired from the Upper House.
The Upper House also got a new chairman M Venkaiah Naidu, after he was elected as the country’s Vice President, succeeding Hamid Ansari.
The action continued in the Parliament even when it was not in the session as its parliamentary standing committees called two eminent personalities RBI governor Urjit Patel and movie director Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
While Patel appeared before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, Bhansali was called by the panel on information and broadcasting over the controversy around his movie ‘Padmavati’. (AGENCIES)


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