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Sunday, February 23, 2020

First session of 17th Lok Sabha begins tomorrow, Triple Talaq Bill, Budget in focus

In the run-up to the session, Prime Minister Modi on Sunday chaired an all-party meeting in the national capital and sought to drum up Opposition support for the key bills.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: June 16, 2019 10:23:16 pm
lok sabha session, key bills for modi govt, budget session, parliament session, 17th lok sabha session, new lok sabha session, narendra modi, triple talaq, citizenship amendment bill Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the all-party meeting on Sunday. (Express photo/Renuka Puri)

The first session of the 17th Lok Sabha is set to commence on Monday, with the Narendra Modi-led government seeking to give a fresh push for the passage of various crucial bills, including the contentious Triple Talaq Bill. The Parliament session will continue till July 26.

In the run-up to the session, Prime Minister Modi on Sunday chaired an all-party meeting in the national capital and sought to drum up Opposition support for the key bills. He also invited heads of all parties to a meeting on June 19 to discuss the “one nation, one election” issue.

Taking note of the several new faces in this Lok Sabha, the Prime Minister said the first session of the Lower House of Parliament should begin with “fresh zeal and new thinking”. Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad assured that bills that are in the interest of the people will not be opposed.

Budget Session to begin tomorrow

The first two days of the session is likely to see 542 members of the newly-elected Lower House take oath. While election for Vellore constituency in Tamil Nadu was cancelled after a huge amount of cash was recovered prior to the polls, two more MPs are yet to be nominated by the government from the Anglo Indian community.

The swearing-in ceremony of the members will be overseen by protem Speaker Virendra Kumar, who was elected from Tikamjarh in Madhya Pradesh.

The election of Speaker of the Lok Sabha will be held on June 19 followed by a joint sitting of both the Houses on June 20. The President will also deliver his address, which is customary after the general elections.

The main Opposition, Congress, is yet to decide on its representatives in Parliament. While party chief Rahul Gandhi was insistent on stepping down after the Congress’ poor performance in the Lok Sabha polls, his decision is yet to be accepted by party members.

All eyes are also on the Union Budget, which will be presented by new Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on July 5. The budget will be preceded by the release of the Economic survey on July 4.

Crucial bills to look out for:

Earlier this week, the Cabinet had cleared a fresh bill to ban the practice of instant divorce or triple talaq, and replace an ordinance issued by the previous BJP-led NDA government in February.

With the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha last month, the previous bill had lapsed as it was pending in Rajya Sabha. The bill had faced objections from the Opposition parties which claimed that jail term for a man for divorcing his wife was legally untenable.

However, this time too, the government is dependent on the Opposition for support in Rajya Sabha or Upper House, where it lacks a majority.

All eyes are also on the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) which also currently awaits nod in Rajya Sabha. With the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha, the bill was dissolved last month.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 provided for according Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after seven years of residence in India instead of 12 years, which is the current norm, even if they do not possess any document.

The legislation was passed by Lok Sabha during the Winter Session on January 8 but could not be cleared by the Upper House amid strong opposition in Assam and other Northeastern states.

The Prime Minister, while campaigning in Assam in April, had said that his party is committed to amending the act.

Besides these, the government will also table the Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which was approved by the Cabinet earlier this week. The Women’s Reservation Bill, which seeks to provide 33 per cent reservation to women in Parliament and state assemblies, will also be discussed.

The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, the Indian Medical Council (Amendment Bill), 2019, and the Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment Bill), 2019, will also be tabled in the session.

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