Parliament’s budget session set to begin with President’s address

Jan 31, 2023 10:50 AM IST

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the last full budget of this term of the National Democratic Alliance government on Wednesday

Parliament’s budget session is set to begin on Tuesday with President Droupadi Murmu’s address to a joint sitting of both Houses at 11am even as a combative Opposition was expected to raise questions related to issues such as the Adani controversy, inflation, and unemployment.

President Droupadi Murmu will address a joint sitting of both Houses at 11am. (ANI)
President Droupadi Murmu will address a joint sitting of both Houses at 11am. (ANI)

The economic survey will be tabled after the address. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the last full budget of this term of the National Democratic Alliance government on Wednesday.

The session will have 27 sittings and conclude on April 6, with a month-long recess between February 13 and March 12. Eight previous parliament sessions in a row since March 2020 have been cut short due to disruptions.

At an all-party meeting of 37 leaders from 27 opposition parties ahead of the session, there were calls for greater space for raising issues. There appeared to be near unanimity on the need to bring in a women’s reservation bill for reserving one-third of Lok Sabha and state assembly seats for women.

Union parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi sought the Opposition’s cooperation in running parliament smoothly and said the government is always ready to discuss every topic, provided it is allowed under the rules and has the chair’s permission.

Congress floor leaders were unable to attend the meeting because they were in Srinagar for the party’s biggest public outreach in decades--Bharat Jodo Yatra.

HT on Tuesday reported that the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have sought a discussion on the controversy around Adani Group’s financial status. American firm Hindenburg Research has accused the group of fraud and manipulation.

AAP leader Sanjay Singh said it is a matter of concern that the Life Insurance Corporation of India and the State Bank of India invested huge sums of money in the group.

RJD lawmaker Manoj Jha said the Union government should issue a statement on the issue. He said it is a matter of concern that the group against whom serious allegations have been made is using the Indian flag and has the audacity to say that the report on the company is an attack on India. He called for a discussion on this to send out a message that “Adani is not India.”

The RJD also sought a pan-India caste census and special status for Bihar and other backward states.

The Shiva Sena called for a Securities and Exchange Board of India probe into the charges that Adani manipulated share prices and committed accounting fraud.

Adani has refuted the charges and called it a calculated attack on India. The company’s stock prices have slumped and there has been a tepid response to its public offering.

West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress said opposition parties needed more space to express their views in parliament. It said the legislature should not be used merely for passing bills. The party also raised controversy surrounding a recent BBC documentary on the 2002 riots in Gujarat.

The YSR Congress raised the demand for a nationwide caste census amid growing demand for it. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has maintained an ambivalent stance on the issue.

The Bahujan Samaj Party raised the issue of the ongoing border row with China. But the government cited security implications to rule out a discussion on the issue during the session.

The Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, the Maintenance And Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizen (Amendment) Bill, the Competition (Amendment) Bill, the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, and the Electricity (Amendment) Bill are among key bills that can come up for discussion and passage.

In Rajya Sabha, obituary references will be made to former members of the Parliament D Masthan and Sharad Yadav following the president’s address.

There will be no zero and question hours during the first two days of the session. Matters of urgent public importance can be taken up from Thursday.

The government plans to table around 36 bills, including four related to the budgetary exercise, during the session.

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