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Govt. not serious about Budget session, says Opposition

Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Ghulam Nabi Azad with K. Ananth Kumar and PM Modi on Sunday.

Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Ghulam Nabi Azad with K. Ananth Kumar and PM Modi on Sunday.  

Little time for issues with only four working days in first phase: Cong., Trinamool

At the all party meeting held on Sunday evening, Opposition parties hit out at the government for a short session of Parliament, with both Congress and Trinamool Congress pointing out that there are only four working days in this session.

"Effectively there are just four working days in this session and there are so many issues — there is crisis in judiciary, implementation of GST, farmer's distress and so on — where is the time to discuss all of it,” Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge told The Hindu.

Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien also backed Mr Kharge. “Number of ‘full’ working days in first phase of Budget Session Feb 5, 6, 7, 8. Just four days. This Govt cares two hoots about Parliament,” he tweeted after the meeting.

The Opposition parties also raised the issue of the January 12 press conference by four senior-most judges of Supreme Court alleging selective allotment of cases to preferred benches. All through the discussion Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who arrived late and other senior ministers including Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley remained silent.

The Congress is still to take a stand on support to an impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India Dipak Mishra, suggested last week by CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury.

Tackling pending Bills

According to sources, the controversial Triple Talaq Bill, which virtually stalled the Rajya Sabha in the last session, was not discussed during the meeting. The government has however, indicated that it will make a fresh push for the passage of the contentious bill.

Many parties also raised the new law introduced by the Sri Lankan government imposing heavy penalties on fishermen straying into its waters. “It is an attack on India's sovereignty and the government should take serious note of it,” Rajya Sabha floor leader for AIADMK A Navaneethakrishnan said.

A section of political parties also questioned the government's ambivalent stand on the long-pending women's reservation bill.

DMK MP M. Kanimozhi asked why the Lok Sabha was reluctant to take up a bill that has been already cleared by the Rajya Sabha.

CPI MP D. Raja pressed the government to table the SC/ST Reservation in Promotion Bill in the Lok Sabha.

The Bill was cleared in the Rajya Sabha in 2012. “In view of rising atrocities against Dalits, Parliament should take note of the legislation cleared by it,” Mr Raja said.

National issues

Speaking at the end of the meeting, Mr Modi said though there are only few working days, issues of national interest should be debated. He also stressed that parliamentarians work hard in standing committees and that advantage should be taken of this system.

The Budget session will begin on Monday with the customary address of the President to a joint sitting of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.

Following President Ram Nath Kovind’s address, the economic survey will be tabled in both Houses.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will present the current BJP-led NDA regime's last full-fledged budget on February 1.

The first spell of the session will end on February 9. The Parliament will meet again between March 5 and April 6.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2020 2:07:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/govt-not-serious-about-budget-session-says-opposition/article22545964.ece

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