Tough task ahead for UPA in winter session of Parliament

A tough task awaits the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government which plans to obtain Parliamentary approval to a number of draft bills.

From the one to carve out a separate Telangana state from Andhra Pradesh to the one formalising the land boundary agreement with Bangladesh, the UPA will have to push through these agendas during the brief winter session beginning Thursday.

It will be the penultimate session of the 15th Lok Sabha before the general election next year and the government’s floor managers have a few cards up their sleeves to tone down the Opposition onslaught they expect during the session. The session, with only 12 sittings, could perhaps be the briefest winter session of Parliament in recent memory.

Government sources admitted that the first two days would not see any business being transacted and that the treasury benches would have practically 10 sittings to push its agenda through.

Top priority is to seek the Parliament’s nod to the bill to carve out a separate Telangana state, but the BJP leaders said they were yet to hear from the government on the issue.

A slew of economic reform measures planned by the government, such as the FDI in insurance and pension and the Direct Tax Code Bill are also pending before Parliament.

Among the issues the Opposition plans to raise, including the controversial report by the Joint Parliamentary Committee on 2G spectrum allocation, price rise, the economic slowdown and the coal allocation controversy.

The BJP may also demand a discussion on the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement with China signed during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Beijing in October. The Congress sources said the party would vigorously raise the issue of the alleged snooping of a young woman by the Gujarat government if the BJP gets too aggressive on other issues.

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde has been non-committal on bringing the Telangana Bill during the winter session.

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