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Winter session set to begin on Monday

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan with Venkaiah Naidu arrives for all-party meeting at Parliament House, in New Delhi on November 21, 2014. Photo: Shanker Chakravarty  

Parliament’s winter session promises to be stormy with the opposition determined to pin the Modi-led government on promises the BJP had made during its election campaign even as it will block the latter’s efforts to take forward the economic reforms agenda that many among them see as anti-people.

The government’s ambitious shortlist for this session, that starts on Monday, includes its intention to replace two ordinances -- The Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Ordinance, 2014 and The Textile Undertakings (Nationalisation) Laws (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance -- with Bills, and pass the long overdue Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill as well as The Constitution (119th Amendment) Bill, 2013, the latter to ratify the India-Bangladesh Land Agreement of 1974.

The government’s parliamentary managers have also indicated that the Goods and Services Tax Bill and amendments to the Land Acquisition Act will also come up in this session, but neither is in the shortlist. In the GST Bill’s case, the Centre has yet to resolve outstanding issues with some of the states; as far as the Land Acquisition Act is concerned, the concerned ministry has yet to finalise the amendments.

Meanwhile, topping the opposition’s agenda will be the government’s failure to bring back black money from abroad, its reneging on promises made to the farming community, its attempts to dilute MGNREGA and the Land Acquisition Act, and saffronise education, growing communal tension, the sterilisation deaths in Chattisgarh, Chinese incursions and the dismantling of the Planning Commission.

On most of these issues, the session is likely to see cooperation among the Congress, the Janata Parivar parties and the Left Parties, sources in these parties said.

The Parliamentary Affairs Ministry has already listed the Insurance Bill for consideration and passage but since it is still with the Select Committee, and two of its members who have become ministers in the interim will be replaced on Monday, it could take a while, opposition parties say.

With the Left and the Janata Parivar Parties opposed to the Insurance and the GST Bills, the BJP has focused on securing support for them from the Congress that had sponsored them during the predecessor UPA government’s tenure.

But Congress Deputy Leader in the Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma told The Hindu that his party will only take a call after seeing the final shape of the Insurance Bill; on GST, he said, there has been no discussion so far.

The India-Bangladesh Land Bill that seeks to exchange territories in the two countries, will be backed by the Congress that had brought the Bill almost a year ago. At that time, the BJP had not backed it as its state units in West Bengal and Assam opposed it; now, the 33-member strong Trinamool Congress, that had vigorously attacked the Bill at that time, remains of the same mind. The Trinamool’s Saugata Roy told The Hindu “There is no question - we will oppose the Bill.”

The Janata Parivar parties also intend to bring up the government’s promises on increasing employment opportunities, its reversing its commitment to give farmers for their produce the cost of production plus 50 per cent, as well as the contentious central government circular to state governments to stop paying the Rs 300 bonus per quintal of wheat and rice to ensure continued procurement: in this last, these parties expect that even the BJP state governments of Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh will back them.


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Printable version | Aug 5, 2021 6:17:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/winter-session-set-to-begin-on-monday/article6627142.ece

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