Discussion on the Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address continued in Rajya Sabha.  During the debate, members raised a number of issues such as growing inequality in the country, low farm income, law and order situation in various parts of the country, among others. Some members participating in the debate emphasised on the importance of legislative scrutiny, urging that Parliament should not be undermined and bills should be referred to committees.  On the topic of simultaneous elections, some members raised their concern about its feasibility.

The Prime Minister replied to the Motion of Thanks in both the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha. In both houses, the Prime Minister highlighted a number of initiatives by his government such as growth of road infrastructure, extension of railway lines, expansion of optical fibre reach to panchayats, aviation policy connecting smaller cities, rural electrification, Jan Dhan accounts, among others. Speaking on the agriculture sector, the Prime Minister stated that to help improve farm produce, the government is looking at both supply chain management and food processing. He also emphasised on the importance of agro-tech innovations and soil health cards to help farmers.

The Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address was adopted in both houses.

Lok Sabha started the general discussion on the Union Budget.  During the debate, some members raised questions on the federal nature of the budget and were critical of the changes in road and infrastructure cess, and the excise and customs duty on petrol and diesel.  The changes would result in lower devolution to the states. Other issues such as an increase in petrol prices, loss of revenue of states due to the implementation of GST, among other things were also raised.  Some members also urged that the government must bring out a white paper on the purchase of Rafael aircrafts.

General discussion on the Union Budget also began in Rajya Sabha.

Both houses were sitting at the time of sending this report

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