Govt plans to delay winter session

Centre buying time to build support for reform bills

The winter session of Parliament may be delayed by a fortnight, as the government likes to buy time to find support from allies and the opposition for key economic reforms, especially the FDI in retail and pension funds, which are part of the second generation reforms.

With the UPA already in minority both in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, its ally the DMK and Samajwadi Party, which had offered outside support in the past, have voiced opposition to the financial sector bills.

“The coming weeks are crucial in seeking support for pension and insurance bills as the government is in a minority in the Rajya Sabha,” a top government source told Deccan Herald.

The winter session, usually held from last week of November till Christmas, may now be held only in the second week of December, the source said.

The delay is also considered since Congress and BJP leaders will be busy at the Gujarat and Himachal elections.

Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh are scheduled on November 4, and in Gujarat on December 13 and 17.

Analysts say that Congress would wait until it is fairly certain that it would win both the states before pushing through the tough reforms in the Parliament.

Successful passage of the reforms will also provide a boost for government managers to seek approval on the constitutional bill on Goods and Service Tax, an important aspect of the indirect tax reforms.

Seeking support

Finance Minister P Chidambaram also confirmed that the government would seek support of the principal opposition to push through the reforms, which is important to restore investor confidence in India. Though the stock market rallied significantly on Thursday in anticipation of the reforms, investors are still concerned over their passage in the Parliament.

Meanwhile, the Congress rally on FDI in multi-brand retail, which was to take place on October 28 in the national capital, has also been postponed to November 4 in view of Durga puja.

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