Centre drops proposal to curtail Budget session

Centre drops proposal to  curtail Budget session
The Centre had to drop its proposal to curtail the Budget session in view of Assembly elections as it ran into a wall of protest by the Opposition parties on Thursday.

The three-month long Budget session will begin on February 23 and continue till May 13 with a five-week recess for examination of the Budgetary proposals of the government by Parliamentary Standing Committees.

President Pranab Mukherjee will address a joint sitting of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha on February 23. The Railway Budget will be presented on February 25, the Economic Survey the following day. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will present the General Budget on February 29.

In view of the elections to four states and one Union Territory the government was mulling scrapping the recess and concluding the session in one stretch by March end. This was opposed by political parties at an informal all-party meeting convened by Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu.

“We did not want any reduction in the sittings of the Houses or a session without a recess. The absence of a recess hurts the standing committee system,” Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters.

Soon after the all party meeting, the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs finalised the dates of the session and sent the recommendation to Mukherjee.

“The first part of Budget Session will end on March 16 and the second part will be convened from April 25 to May 13,” Naidu told reporters.

CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury, who attended the all-party meeting, favoured a fixed calendar for Parliament sessions to remove any confusion.

“The Election Commission will then decide the dates for elections knowing when Parliament is sitting. The prime minister will also know about the sittings and will remain in House and not be abroad,” he said.

Earlier, Naidu had written to leaders of political parties in Parliament on the possibility of curtailing the Budget session to accommodate hectic campaign schedules of political leaders for the elections in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam, Kerala and Puducherry.
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