With the Presidential and Vice-Presidential elections just round the corner, the UPA is adopting a two-pronged strategy for the second half of the budget session.
The session starts from Tuesday and is slated to run till May 22.
The ruling dispensation wants to showcase the coalition unity ahead of the two crucial polls and keep key outside supporters such as the SP and BSP, on board.
Next, it wants to send a strong signal that there is no policy paralysis and the much-needed agenda of economic reforms is on track. The Centre is also likely to explain that investors need not worry on the retrospective tax proposals in the Finance Bill that is already facing opposition internationally.Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has already indicated that the government would like to push three major reforms bills — amendments to the Insurance act, banking law and the pension fund bill — during this session. After the BJP's assured support in passing the pension bill, government sources said, talks with the opposition and ally Trinamool Congress will soon start on these bills.
The initial government wishlist has 40 bills for passing in Parliament during the session. But the Lokpal Bill will be pushed only when the government is confident about its smooth passage, top sources hinted.
Parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Kumar Bansal and HRD minister Kapil Sibal emphasised that the government will try to build consensus on important legislations. The ministers also pointed out that the government is respecting the recommendations of panels on various bills — indicating that it is listening to different political opinions.
On Monday, Banerjee toned down her 'ultimatum' on the three-year moratorium on interest repayment, adding to the comfort of the Congress.