he Lok Sabha passed the Finance Bill 2020 without discussion on Monday. (Photo Credit: File Photo)
The Budget Session of Parliament was adjourned sine die on Monday amid a round of applause for those fighting tirelessly against coronavirus pandemic. The development comes as the majority of India has gone into lockdown phase. Around 15 states in India have announced the shutdowns to prevent mass movement. The session concluded almost 12 days before its scheduled winding up due to the looming threat of deadly coronavirus. The Lok Sabha passed the Finance Bill 2020 without discussion on Monday. The Union government said it was an "extraordinary situation", a reference to the coronavirus pandemic, as Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tabled the bill for passage.The House negated amendments moved by Opposition members. Many political parties including Trinamool Congress have decided not to attend the session on Monday due to the coronavirus scare amid lockdowns announced by many states for varied periods. (Coronavirus Outbreak LIVE Updates)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is already facing criticism from several opposition parties and political activists for not practicing what it preaches - social distancing. Meanwhile, the Government of Indian on Sunday decided to completely shut down 75 districts across the country where coronavirus cases have been reported, Union Health Ministry officials said on Sunday. The officials asked all the state governments to ensure that the poor don't face problems in these districts during the lockdown. The decisions have been taken at a high-level meeting attended by chief secretaries of all states and the cabinet secretary and the principal secretary to the prime minister.
In view of the need to contain the spread of the deadly COVID-19, it was agreed that there was an urgent need to extend the restrictions on the movement of non-essential passenger transport, including interstate transport buses till March 31, a Union Home Ministry official said. “To break the chain of transmission, the easiest method is to isolate the people coming from outside. The virus is not present in the air, it can be transmitted through droplets released,” Indian Council of Medical Research Director-General Balram Bhargava said. The districts where lockdown was announced are from states that include Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and Kerala.
In a related development over coronavirus, a central trade union on Monday asked the government to provide financial assistance to compensate businesses and people, particularly daily wagers, during the complete lockdown in view of COVID-19 outbreak. The All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) takes a serious note of the gloomy situation for several crores of workers who are migrant, contract, casual or daily earners to run their kitchens in the wake of lockdown in more than 75 districts resulting out of COVID- 19 spread, the union said in a statement. The central trade union pointed out that the address of the Prime Minister was too late and too little without any commitments on the part of the government for a necessary financial package, for necessary steps to be taken to give confidence to the people to allay their fears.
(With agency inputs)