Following the discussion and vote on the expenditure proposals of the Ministry of Railways, Education, and Health in Lok Sabha, outstanding demands were guillotined today i.e. voted without discussion. The Appropriation Bill was subsequently introduced and passed. This bill authorises the government to spend money from the Consolidated Fund of India, which consists of all receipts and borrowings of the government.
To complete the Budget exercise, the government will now have to get the Finance Bill passed. This Bill includes details of the change in tax rates, and imposition of taxes on various entities. Once Lok Sabha passes the Budget, Rajya Sabha only has a recommendatory role in passing the Appropriation and Finance Bills as they are Money Bills.
After the passage of the Appropriation Bill, Zero Hour was taken up in Lok Sabha. One Member asked for COVID vaccines to be administered to athletes who will be participating in the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo. She noted that countries such as Israel, Singapore, Belgium and others have already vaccinated their athletes and further pointed out that vaccines require multiple shots to be administered and there can be mild reactions and subsequent recovery which may affect the athletes' training. Another Member has raised this matter in the Upper House this week.
Earlier in the day, the External Affairs Minister made a statement in Parliament regarding the ‘Vaccine Maitri’ initiative. Noting that India’s reputation as the ‘Pharmacy of the World’ has been reinforced through the supply of vaccines abroad, the Minister said that India’s vaccines have been made available in 72 nations across the globe. He also assured the House that the supply of vaccines abroad is determined on the adequate availability at home.
Rajya Sabha then proceeded to discuss the working of the Ministry of Railways. The House adjourned after the Minister's reply.
Numbers to note
The Minister of Communications informed Lok Sabha that 10,900 of the 96,794 villages in Left-Wing Extremism affected districts do not have mobile connectivity. Overall, 25,067 of the 5,97,618 inhabited villages in the country do not have mobile connectivity, as of 2020.