The barrage of cut motions on general and railways budgets—4,000 and still counting—has made the Lok Sabha secretariat work overtime to process them. But when Parliament reconvenes for the second leg of the budget session, the UPA floor managers will have to burn midnight oil to garner numbers to pass key tests.
It will not just be the thousands of opposition-sponsored cut motion that the government needs to defeat to keep the second UPA government going, but another round of voting on the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) regulations for FDI retail policy also needs to be won to avoid major political embarrassment of the UPA.
Last year, around 4,000 cut motions on the finance bill and the appropriation (railways) bill were put on vote. These two bills are essential for passing the general and railway budgets, respectively.
This time, the numbers have already surpassed previous records.
“With 11 more days to go before the session, we are expecting more cut motions to come,” Lok Sabha secretary general TK Vishwanathan told HT. A member can submit multiple cut motions.
Out of the cut motions submitted so far, almost 2,000 motions are for the railway budget. Government sources suggest that its managers will have to hit the floor running as the railways bill may come before the Lower House during the first few days of the second half of budget session that convenes on April 22.
BJP leader and former finance minister Yashwant Sinha has, meanwhile, submitted a notice for motion for annulment of the FEMA regulation amendments. The government had tabled the proposed amendments of the FEMA regulations to allow 51% FDI in multi-brand retail trade.
In the 2012 winter session of Parliament, the government had defeated a Trinamool Congress-sponsored motion for the annulment of the FEMA amendments. But Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar had assured the House that voting will be again allowed in future after the opposition argued that rules allow repeated voting as long as the regulations lie on the table of the House.
This time, task has become more difficult for the UPA as it is heavily dependant on outside supporters like Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party as the DMK has withdrawn support from the UPA last month.