Nirmala Sitharaman will present her second budget as finance minister on February 1.(Raj K Raj/HT Photo)
Nirmala Sitharaman will present her second budget as finance minister on February 1.(Raj K Raj/HT Photo)

5 things to watch out for in the budget session of Parliament

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Saubhadra Chatterji
UPDATED ON JAN 30, 2020 09:39 AM IST

The second budget session of the new Lok Sabha will start from January 31 with the speech of President of India. The general budget will be presented on February 1.

Here are the five things to watch out for the in the budget session:

Union budget: Caught between a 10-year low GDP growth rate and a five-year high inflation, Nirmala Sitharaman doesn’t have a dream situation to present her second budget as the Finance Minister. Expectations are high about a possible tax rate cut to woo the middle class and increase spending to boost the sluggish demand. There are also talks about spending more money in rural and agricultural sectors.

Protests over CAA and proposed NRC: Just a month after the amendments to the Citizenship Act (CAA) was cleared by both Houses of Parliament, the issue is set to take the centre-stage once again in Parliament. With public protests across the country and Opposition parties keen to take on the government over the law, the raging issue is set to be discussed again. The BJP too is latching on the issue to take on the opponents.

Labour reforms: As the government is keen to attract more investments and improve the ease of doing business in India, it aims to clear the remaining three labour code bills in this session of Parliament. The House has already cleared the Wage Code. There are 44 central and 387 state labour laws in India. Experts believe that there is an urgent need to simplify and rationalise labour laws to make them comprehensive and easy to comply.

Long hours in Lok Sabha: Members of the Lower House of Parliament would have to brace for long hours in the House as Speaker Om Birla is likely to stretch daily proceedings well into the evening. He maintains that more lawmakers should get a chance to speak in the crucial issues in the budget session. In his first session as the Speaker last year, Birla earned a reputation as a taskmaster when he led the House into ultra-long proceedings. The House sat for more than 280 hours and cleared 36 bills, setting a new benchmark for high performance in the Lok Sabha.

Costlier canteen: Lunch in Parliament will no longer be cheap from March 2020 as rates for food items will be revised to eliminate subsidy. According to the plans currently being considered, the current menu of 48 items will be pruned to exclude not-so-popular dishes and improve the quality of food.

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