A DAY after Finance Minister Piyush Goyal told an all-party meeting that a “Budget is a Budget” and there is nothing like an interim budget or a vote-on-account, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made it clear to the Opposition that his government will present an “interim Budget” in the Lok Sabha Friday.
He gave this assurance to leaders of parties at a session-eve meeting at the Parliament House Thursday. Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who heads the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs, also reiterated what Modi stated.
The government had been forced on to the backfoot after the Opposition Congress vowed to oppose any attempt at presenting a full-fledged Budget when the government’s tenure was scheduled to end in May.
According to sources, Modi said the last session of the current Lok Sabha should deliberate on issues of “public interest” and “development” and sought the cooperation of all parties to ensure smooth proceedings.
Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad (Congress) pointed out that 48 Bills have been listed with “hardly three-four days after discussions on the Interim Budget and the Motion of Thanks for the Presidential Address”. He wanted the government to “take up those Bills on which there is a consensus” and warned of a washout otherwise
Trinamool Congress MPs Sudip Bandyopadhyay (Lok Sabha) and Derek O’brien (Rajya Sabha), backing Azad, said that the government would be “responsible for disruptions” if they list “controversial Bills”.
BJD’s Bhartruhari Mahtab suggested the government should try passing the Bill for reserving 33 per cent seats for women in state Assemblies and Lok Sabha.