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Saturday, April 17, 2021

Second leg of Budget Session begins today

The government made it clear that it was ready for discussions on any subject but asserted that the priority would be passage of various demands for grants for 2021-22 and the Finance Bill which carries several tax proposals.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: March 8, 2021 8:16:41 am
With the campaign expected to pick up pace in Kerala, West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry over the next few days, the attendance is expected be thin after the first week.

̌The month-long second leg of the Budget session of Parliament will begin Monday amid a high-voltage campaign for Assembly elections in four states and a Union Territory. With an eye on the polls, the Opposition Congress on Sunday decided to demand discussions on price rise and the continuing farmers’ protests.

The government made it clear that it was ready for discussions on any subject but asserted that the priority would be passage of various demands for grants for 2021-22 and the Finance Bill which carries several tax proposals.

With the campaign expected to pick up pace in Kerala, West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in the coming days, the attendance is expected to be thin after the first week and there are signals that the session, which is to end on April 8, could end a few days earlier.

“The government’s priority is to complete the budget process. There will be debates on demands for grants and many issues can be covered in it. However, the Prime Minister has already said that the government is ready for discussion on anything. The modalities can be decided in discussions with the presiding officers,” Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs V Muraleedharan told the Indian Express.

The government business includes consideration and passage of the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (Amendment) Bill, National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development Bill, Electricity (Amendment) Bill and Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill.

It is to be seen whether the government brings a Bill in this session to revise the legal age of marriage for women.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi Sunday chaired a meeting with the party’s Parliament leaders to finalise the floor strategy. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh too attended the virtual meeting.

“We will raise the issues of price rise, the continuing farmers’ agitation and the situation along the India-China border. Price rise is an important issue because the common people are suffering and facing immense hardships. We would demand discussions on all these issues,” Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury told The Indian Express.

Besides Chowdhury, the meeting was attended by Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma, senior leaders A K Antony, Manish Tewari, Jairam Ramesh and K C Venugopal and Congress chief whip in Lok Sabha Kodikunnil Suresh and whip Manickam Tagore.

The government had not agreed to hold a separate discussion on the farmers’ agitation in the first half of the Budget session, leading to Opposition protests in Lok Sabha.

With more than half of its members belonging to the states going to polls, Congress leaders said the attendance of the party’s members would be a problem. Twenty seven of the 51 members of the Congress in Lok Sabha are from these states. The situation is the same for regional parties like the Trinamool Congress, DMK, AIADMK and the Left.

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