Finance Minister P. ChidambaramReuters

With the house set for a month-long break from Saturday, the Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Parliament) approved Finance Minister P.Chidambaram's Union Budget 2013-14 without debate on Thursday.

EMS Natchiappan, who was in the chair, told the members of the house to place their speeches either on the table of the house or electronically so that the finance bill could be returned on time, triggering protest from opposition parties.

The month-long budget session, which started on 21 February, ends on March 22.

A few political parties, including Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) argued that passing the Union Budget without discussion was "not normal".

The Finance Minister however said that the government would incorporate important points raised by the members of the house and send a reply to them besides addressing the individual points raised.

Lok Sabha has already passed the financial bill.

Chidambaram presented Union Budget 2013-14 in Parliament on 28 February, amid economic slowdown concerns with India's economic growth rate falling to 5 percent in the current fiscal year. The general budget evoked both praises and scorns with Indian entrepreneurs expressing their satisfaction while the lawmakers are far from appreciative.

The total expenditure in the Union Budget 2013-14 is pegged at ₹16,65,297 crore. Out of it ₹5,55,322 crore (33%) is Plan expenditure.  The non-Plan expenditure is estimated at ₹11,09,975 crore. The Plan expenditure in the fiscal year 2013-14 will be 29.4 percent more than the revised estimates of the current year (2012-13).

Some of the highlights of Union Budget 2013-14 are:

-          Nirbhaya Fund to empower women and to keep them safe and secure.

-          Proposal to set up India's first Women's Bank as a public sector bank

-          Fiscal Deficit for 2013-14 is pegged at 4.8 percent of GDP. The Revenue Deficit will be 3.3 percent for the same period.

-          First home loan from a bank or housing finance corporation upto ₹25 lakh entitled to additional deduction of interest upto Rs. 1 lakh.

-          A surcharge of 10 percent on persons (other than companies) whose taxable income exceeds ₹1 crore has been levied.

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