Under pressure from various groups to make stricter anti-rape laws, the government is keeping a window open at the beginning of the upcoming budget session for amending criminal laws.
But the UPA managers see little chance of bringing forward the session and are likely to opt for starting it from February 21.
Top Congress sources told HT that the government may stick to the usual schedule of presenting the general budget on February 28 with the railway budget and the economic survey likely to be slated for February 26 and 27, respectively.
Top party sources pointed out that this schedule provides two days-February 22 and 25 - if there is an urgent need to amend anti-rape laws.
The government had earlier ruled out calling a special session of parliament to pass amendments for tougher criminal laws and privately UPA managers had argued that any immediate amendment to the law can be done simply through an ordinance.
UPA managers have pointed out that Justice JS Verma committee has been given time till January 23 to submit its report on how to strengthen the laws to prevent crime against women.
By the time the law ministry finishes the inter-ministerial consultations and readies a draft bill on the basis of the panel's proposals and the union cabinet approves it, it may be well within the second week of February. It would then make little sense to schedule an early session, though the Congress is determined to tighten criminal laws at the earliest.
According to the government's current plan, the first half of the budget session may run till March 15 and the second leg may be scheduled from April 15 to May 10.