The Budget Session of Parliament gets underway from Tuesday with President Pranab Mukherjee’s address to the joint sitting of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha amid indications that the three-month session would be a stormy affair.
Opposition leaders have put the Modi government on notice asking it to show seriousness to ensure smooth functioning of Parliament by allocating adequate time for discussing issues ranging from the JNU row and Jat agitation to atrocities on Dalits and the state of economy on priority.
Mallikarjuna Kharge, Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, said his party would cooperate in passing the bills if the issues sought to be raised by the Opposition were allowed to be discussed thoroughly.
“We suspect that the government itself does not want any legislative agenda to come before Parliament,” CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury told reporters after an all-party-meeting.
During the meeting, Congress leaders flagged a series of issues — JNU row, crisis in Arunachal Pradesh, suicide of a Dalit student in Hyderabad, inflation and excise duty hike on petroleum products — as topics it would like to raise in Parliament. However, a cursory glance at the schedule for the two-part Budget Session indicates there is very little time to take up these matters during the first part that concludes on March 16. Parliamentary sources said the government may agree to have discussion in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday itself on the JNU row, a day before Railway Budget. The Railway Budget will be presented on February 25 and the Economic Survey on February 26. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will present the General Budget on February 29.