The first batch — and the core of his council of ministers — in place, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh got down to business on Saturday, clearing the way for convening the first session of the newly-elected 15th Lok Sabha and setting the pace for early passage of the full Budget before July 31.
The Union Cabinet has decided to recommend to the President the convening of the Parliament session from June 1, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram (63) announced. This session — to be wound up by June 9 — would not take up any government business.
Government sources told HT a second session could be convened as early as 10 days after the first to push the full-fledged budget past Parliament. “We will try to have a full budget session, beginning in the third week of June,” a senior government functionary said.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (76) — who has described economic revival as his first priority — is keen Parliament passes the Budget at the earliest.
Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee (73) on Saturday expressed the hope that government would be able to present the budget in due time to avoid uncertainties.
“We will be able to, I hope, present the budget in due time so that uncertainties can be avoided and time of spending can be renewed,” Mukherjee told reporters at his residence soon after he was named as the finance minister.
The interim budget passed earlier enabled the government to run its expenditure till July 31 only. In case the government can’t stick to this deadline, Chidambaram said a second vote-on-account would be taken “for a very short period.”
Mukherjee faces the daunting challenge of putting the economy back on a growth trajectory of over 8 per cent amid gloomy economic scenario.
“The Indian economy remains resilient,” he said. “My priority is to put the economy back on track. Various efforts will be made to insulate the Indian economy from the adverse impact of the financial meltdown,” Mukherjee said.