In view of the country's increasingly heightening fight against the novel coronavirus, the Budget Session of Parliament is likely to be concluded on Monday after the passage of the Finance Bill in both Houses, as per sources. According to reports, the government wants to quickly go through the Finance Bill and conclude the proceedings regarding Budget. Even if the Rajya Sabha does not clear the Finance Bill, it will come into effect as it is a money Bill, as per reports, as the passage of the Finance bill is essential.
The session, which was earlier scheduled to conclude on April 3, is now likely to be adjourned sine die on March 23, sources said. The session is likely to be concluded almost 12 days before its scheduled winding up due to the looming threat of COVID-19.
Earlier, the government had said the house would stick to the schedule and continue running, but the pressure on it was mounting, with many MPs across party lines staying away from parliament. Many political parties including Shiv, Sena, TMC and NCP have decided not to attend the session on Monday due to the coronavirus scare amid lockdowns announced by many states for varied periods, sources said. The scare had reached Parliament following Kanika Kapoor testing positive as she had attended a party where MP Dushyant Singh had been present, and he had subsequently come into contact with MPs like Derek O'Brien, and had also attended a breakfast at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
At least 396 confirmed cases of the virus have been reported in India with seven reported deaths. Multiple states across the country have taken up measures to contain the spread of the virus and have ordered a complete lockdown at least till March 31, with an extension likely. Numerous states have announced lockdowns till at least March 31, suspending all public transport services and non-essential services. The state governments were advised to issue appropriate orders to allow only essential services to operate in the 75 districts which have reported confirmed cases or casualties relating to COVID 19.
Presently, there are around 336,075 confirmed cases of COVID-19 which has led to the death of around 14,613 people. Meanwhile, around 97,636 have reportedly been recovered. The hardest-hit region, after China, is Italy, Iran and South Korea, where the number of cases is rising by the hour.
(with PTI inputs)