Talking to reporters in the national capital Rahul asked the Opposition parties to fix a date to pass the bills on which there was a general consensus.
The Congress VP had recently accused the main Opposition, the BJP of blocking passage of six anti-graft bills at a public rally at Belgaum, Karnataka. He had said that his party wanted to pass them but were being stopped in Parliament. He had also said that the BJP leaders don’t allow functioning of Parliament and at the same time reminded the crowd that the RTI Act and the Lokpal Bill was brought by the Congress.
The Parliament passed the Lokpal Bill in the last session of Parliament. The Congress leaders have said time and again that Rahul was instrumental in getting the anti-graft bill passed.
The BJP, however, hitting back at Rahul said that it was Congress MPs who were creating ruckus in the House. Senior BJP leader and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley clarified that his party was ready to support most of the anti-corruption legislations once the UPA government restored order in the House.
Taking a dig at the Congress VP, Jaitley had written in his blog, “Not having spoken even once on major scams such as 2G spectrum allocation, coal block allocation, Commonwealth Games, he has only belatedly realised that corruption is a major issue in Indian politics.”
Meanwhile, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram presented the Interim Budget today amidst din in the House. Leaving direct taxes untouched except for continuing the income tax surcharge on ‘super-rich’ individuals and corporates, he slashed excise duty on cars and two-wheelers, and capital goods and consumer durables to boost manufacturing and growth.
Presenting the Interim Budget for 2014-15 along with a vote-on-account for spending up to July, Chidambaram also provided service tax exemption for storage and warehousing of rice like it was done in the case of paddy last year. Also, blood banks have been exempted from its purview.
Rejecting the argument of policy paralysis, Chidambaram enumerated the path-breaking decisions of the government in 2013-14 which included decontrol of sugar, gradual correction of diesel prices, rationalisation of railway fare, starting the process of issue of new bank licenses and restructuring of power distribution companies.
Referring to the GDP growth rate, Chidambaram said the slowdown began in 2011-12 and in nine quarters it had declined from 7.5 per cent in Q1 of 2011-12 to 4.4 per cent in Q1 of 2013-14.