I am not sure greater scrutiny was the desire of the parties, says Finance Minister
Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday took on the Opposition for its obstructionist approach in Parliament on legislations aimed at boosting the economy’s revival and dismissed criticism of rushing through the passage of Bills.
“They ask us — What have we done for the economy? But when we are doing it, they were there to obstruct. This is a sad, very sorry situation,” said Ms. Sitharaman, who steered seven Bills pertaining to her Ministries in the monsoon session, including changes to tax laws to scrap retrospectively applicable provisions.
Some of the bills were passed within minutes over persistent bedlam in both Houses, while the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill, 2021, was passed last Wednesday in the Rajya Sabha amid shocking scenes that are now being probed by Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu. The Opposition had demanded the Bill be sent to a select committee for scrutiny.
“From the outside, it may look like we pushed the Bills through without discussion, but we were ready for a discussion. If the argument [against passing the Bills] is that greater scrutiny is required, I am not sure that was the desire [of the Opposition], because there was huge hungama [ruckus] even over the Factoring Bill, where a Parliamentary Standing Committee had examined it and sent recommendations,” she pointed out.
“I was looking forward to a session where the Opposition would discuss the Bills and standing up and answering them… But in most Bills, only some members could participate [in the debate],” she said.
“The economy is now clearly coming out of the challenges posed by the second COVID-19 wave — core sectors are seeing substantial growth, power consumption is growing and even the private sector is coming around well… We are here to hear and will keep responding,” she said, adding that timely legislative support was necessary for the economy.
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