Updated: February 18, 2021 10:43:08 pm
Due to rising Covid-19 cases in parts of the state, the Maharashtra government is likely to shorten the state legislature’s Budget session to two weeks from general duration of four weeks.
The Budget session will commence on March 1. On Thursday, the business to be taken up in the session for eight days was discussed, but a final decision on this as well as the session’s duration will be taken in a meeting on February 25. So far, the Speaker’s election is not included in the business for the eight days.
Sources said the supplementary grants, the governor’s speech and discussion on these may take place in the first week of the session, while the Budget will be presented on March 8.
“In today’s meeting, we discussed the session’s business to be taken up in the first eight days. The issue of rising Covid-19 cases was also discussed. We will again hold the meeting on February 25 to finalise the business of the session. The Budget will be presented on March 8,” said Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anil Parab.
The state legislature’s business advisory committee (BAC) meeting was attended by Legislative Council Chairman Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar, Deputy Chairman of Legislative Council Neelam Gorhe, Deputy Assembly Speaker Narhari Zirwal, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, senior ministers and leaders of the Opposition.
RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) test has been made mandatory for all leaders, officials and staff. Also, testing will be done on Friday, Saturday and Sunday every week during the session and arrangements for the same will be made on the state legislature premises, said an official, adding that social distancing will be followed and restrictions put on allowing staff of ministers and legislators for the session.
The Opposition demanded the state to hold the Budget session for four weeks. “Form today’s discussion, it seems that the government does not want to run the session for longer period. People’s issues are raised and resolved during the session. Therefore, we seek the session to be held for four weeks,” said Devendra Fadnavis, leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly.
He added, “The state government is using the pandemic as an excuse to hurriedly wind up the Budget session within two weeks. If full-fledged Budget session can take place in Parliament, why not in Maharashtra?
On the letter from Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, asking the state legislature secretariat to hold the election to the Assembly Speaker’s post during the Budget session, Parab said the state cabinet will decide the election date next week and remind the governor of taking a decision of 12 vacant posts of the state legislature’s Upper house.
“The election can be held on the first or last day of the session or in the next session as well. The state cabinet will decide the date,” said Zirwal.
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