Government may further extend Budget session till Aug 9
The government has indicated to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs that it may consider further extending Parliament’s ongoing session by two days if there is any business left, two persons familiar with the matter said.
The current session started on June 17 and was to end on July 26, but the government extended it till August 7 to clear pending bills. The extension was opposed by parties such as the Congress and Trinamool Congress.
In the BJP’s parliamentary party meeting on Tuesday, parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi said that all MPs must be present in the House to clear pending bills, failing which a second extension may be required.
“Joshi told BJP MPs that they need to be present in the House and clear pending bills. He said the House could be extended for two days if any business is left on August 7,” the first person quoted above said.
The second person added, “The government has, however, not taken a call yet on extending the session. But it is keeping options open.”
Any proposal to further extend the session is likely to meet with strong disapproval from the opposition benches, which have already cried foul about the government’s purported strategy to push bills through Parliament without sending it to standing committees.
Barring a couple, most standing committees have not been formed. This allows the government the excuse that there is no scope for bills to be referred to committees that do not exist.
A PRS Legislative Research study shows that in the current session the productivity of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha has respectively been 129% and 96%. As many as 34 bills have been introduced in this session.
On Tuesday, the Rajya Sabha passed the contentious bill criminalising triple talaq among Muslims amid Opposition demands that it be referred to a standing committee for detailed scrutiny. The Upper House clearing the triple talaq and Right to Information bills is a big “psychological victory” for the government as the National Democratic Alliance does not have a majority in the Rajya Sabha.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah have repeatedly asked BJP lawmakers to be present in the House during voting on different bills. The two leaders will attend a “training session” for all BJP MPs this Saturday and Sunday.