Monsoon session of Parliament starts from Monday; fuel price rise, farm laws on agenda

The stage is set for a confrontation between the government and the Opposition over raging issues of fuel price rise, vaccination strategy and the farm laws in the monsoon session of Parliament that starts from Monday
Monsoon session of Parliament starts from Monday; fuel price rise, farm laws on agenda
Monsoon session of Parliament starts from Monday; fuel price rise, farm laws on agenda
Updated on Jul 18, 2021 09:34 PM IST
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The stage is set for a confrontation between the government and the Opposition over raging issues of fuel price rise, vaccination strategy and the farm laws in the monsoon session of Parliament that starts from Monday.

The government announced it is ready to face any debate. The Opposition has planned an offensive on the first day over the fuel price hike.

According to two leaders, government managers proposed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will brief floor leaders on India’s covid management in an exclusive meeting. All Opposition parties rejected the offer, insisting on a proper, parliamentary debate on the subject.

The session comes against the backdrop of the second wave of the pandemic that saw an acute oxygen crisis in large parts of the country. While both the treasury and the Opposition bench would look for opportunities to corner each other, the recent assembly polls and the long-term goals of the 2024 election may also add to the underlining politics in the session.

Participating in an all-party meeting on Sunday, PM Modi urged 31 political parties that “there should be meaningful discussion in both the Houses” and reminded them it’s “the responsibility of all to create such a conducive environment”.

Parliamentary affairs minister Prahlad Joshi told journalists, “The Prime Minister said that as per our traditions of a healthy democracy, issues concerning the people should be raised in an amicable manner, and the government should be given the opportunity to respond to these discussions.”

“The Prime Minister said the people’s representatives truly know the ground level situations, and hence their participation in the discussions enriches the decision-making process,” said Joshi. Modi also pointed out that most of the MPs have been vaccinated and it will help them in actively working in Parliament.

In the all-party meeting, Rajya Sabha Leader of the Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge demanded more bills to be scrutinized and every week, one short-duration discussion and a Calling Attention motion must be allowed. The Congress leader also asked for an election for the post of deputy speaker, which has been lying vacant for more than two years now.

Kharge even took jibes at the PM, before he joined the meeting at its fag end, to demand that the PM should not come when key parties have already spoken as it amounts to disrespect for those parties, according to two leaders present in the meeting.

Trinamool Congress leaders Sudip Bandopadhyay and Derek O Brien raised seven issues including sidelining of the states, discrepancy in vaccine distribution, and “motivated functioning of central agencies”.

But petrol price hike remained the top issue for most opposition parties followed by a fresh demand to repeal the controversial farm laws. The TMC also asked for the enactment of the Women Reservation Bill.

The DMK demanded a discussion on the devolution of GST after many states claimed the Centre has not paid their dues. TRS mentioned that PSUs should be turned profitable and should not be disinvested.

5 political parties including, TRS, YSRCP, and BSP wanted a debate on Scheduled Ten of the Indian Constitution as anti-defection cases regularly comes up before the legislative houses or the courts. The BJD demanded that the bill for the legislative council of Odisha should be expedited.

Samajwadi Party leader Ramgopal Varma expressed concerns over the quick passage of bills without scrutiny. His outburst against some governors surprised many as he accused gubernatorial offices of trying to become more powerful than elected chief ministers.

NCP leader Sharad Pawar asked for a debate on inflation and CPIM demanded a review of labour laws.

Parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi listed 29 bills and two financial legislation. He sought cooperation for all and reiterated that all issues can be discussed in Parliament.

In another all-party meeting, chaired by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, several Opposition leaders asked for the reintroduction of the MPLAD funds after it was canceled last year for two fiscals due to the pandemic. The Speaker assured the members that he will talk to the Prime Minister.

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Friday, January 28, 2022