Inflation to dominate rest of budget session
The concluding part of the budget session beginning on Tuesday is set to be stormy with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Left parties preparing to put the Congress party on the mat over inflation.
The Congress will face flak not only from the main opposition party but also its own allies in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), especially its Left Front partners, who are uneasy with the increasing prices of essential commodities.
"Price rise will dominate this session," said Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) MP Roopchand Pal.
"We have sought a discussion on inflation and price rise on the opening day," he added.
The budget session, ending May 9, will pass the finance bill.
Left parties and the Samajwadi Party will launch an agitation against inflation on Wednesday a day after the budget session is reconvened.
"We have asked the government for a discussion on price rise. Linked to price rise is the issue of the public distribution system (PDS)," said Pal.
The BJP too is preparing to launch an all out offensive on price rise. "Our party will focus on inflation and food security," said BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar.
The other issue on the agenda of both the Left and the BJP is the Rs.600 billion loan waiver scheme for farmers. "We believe that small and marginal farmers who take loans from local moneylenders are not benefiting from the scheme," said Pal.
"The BJP will raise questions on the loan waiver scheme," said Javadekar.
The sixth pay commission's recommendations are also expected to come up in the discussions. The Left is opposing the commission's proposal to upgrade the skills of Class D employees. "How can a 52-year-old man go for skill upgradation? It virtually means taking his job away from him," said Pal.
The 27 percent quota for backward class students in higher educational institutions is going to find an echo in the forthcoming session.
Regional parties like Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham, Janata Dal-United and Lok Jana Shakti Party are going to demand a redefinition of 'creamy layer' - the affluent among backward class students who are not entitled to quota in higher educational institutions.
Pending on the list of legislative business is the bill which needs to be passed to give constitutional validity to 27 per cent reservation in jobs for backward classes as mandated by the Mandal Commission.
At present reservation in jobs is carried out on the basis of an executive order passed by former prime minister VP Singh.
A bill tabled in Rajya Sabha, extending quota to promotion in jobs for Dalits and tribals, will come up for passage in the Lok Sabha. A constitutional amendment bill for proving constitutional status to the National Minority Commission (NMC) is also pending.