Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014

Interim Budget 2014-15: If House disrupted today, Vote on Account speech may shift to Lok Sabha TV studio

Finance Minister P Chidambaram and his team on the eve of the interim Budget, in New Delhi on Sunday.  (PTI Photo) Finance Minister P Chidambaram and his team on the eve of the interim Budget, in New Delhi on Sunday. (PTI Photo)
Written by Subhomoy Bhattacharjee | New Delhi | Posted: February 17, 2014 3:11 am | Updated: February 17, 2014 8:56 am

With the Parliament continuing to be hit by noisy disruptions, a worried UPA government is planning back-up measures to ensure the Vote on Account speech on Monday is heard by the nation, if not from the floor of the Lok Sabha then from the studio on Lok Sabha TV.

After the pepper spray episode over the introduction of the Telangana Bill, Finance Minister P Chidambaram may satisfy himself with just tabling the Budget papers in the House. After that, he may read the speech from the studio premises located in the Parliament complex, which will be telecast on Lok Sabha TV and picked up by other broadcasters.

Sources said the government is keen to ensure its message of development work done by UPA-II is heard. In their Vote on Account speeches, outgoing Finance Ministers have always made it a point to elaborate on the salient achievements of the government, providing suitable ammunition in the run-up to the elections.

Chidambaram is also expected to make some changes in indirect taxes that are expected to cheer the industry. But government managers are concerned that just as Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge could hardly make himself heard and had to instead table the Railway Budget post-haste, and Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde had to be physically shielded by Congress members while tabling the Telangana Bill, Chidambaram too may not get an opportunity to read his speech.

If the speech is read from the studio, it would be the first such instance. Government managers said they hope the step won’t be necessary, but have alerted the studio authorities to be prepared.

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