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First phase of the budget session of Paliament ends

The session saw several historic events, including the passage of the women's reservation bill in the Rajya Sabha.

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The first phase of the budget session of Parliament, which saw the passage of the historic women's reservation bill in the Rajya Sabha and a lot of heat on inflation, ended today.

Both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, which began with the address by president Pratibha Patil to a joint sitting on February 22, witnessed acrimony for days on the issue of rising prices, with inflation nearing the double-digit mark.

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee presented the general budget for 2010-11 on February 26. After heated debates in both houses, the first leg of the budget-making process was completed with the passage of the appropriation bills, which allow the government to withdraw money from the exchequer for some parts of the next fiscal.

Though the women's reservation bill, requiring a constitutional amendment, was passed by the upper house, it could not be introduced in the Lok Sabha in view of strong opposition from the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Samajwadi Party, and sections of the Janata Dal (United).

The government managed to get the bill, a dream agenda of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, passed in the Rajya Sabha after seven opposing members were marshalled out.

In the wake of strident criticism by the opposition, the government also dropped at the eleventh hour the introduction in the Lok Sabha of a bill that seeks to cap liability in case of a nuclear accident.

Passage of this bill was considered important to put into operation the Indo-US nuclear deal.

The Rajya Sabha had scheduled sittings on two more days but was adjourned till April 12, when the two houses will meet after the recess, during which parliamentary standing committees will examine the demands for grants of various ministries.

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