New Delhi: The Budget Session of Parliament will begin on Thursday, January 31, with President Ram Nath Kovind addressing the joint sitting of Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha members. The session, which will end on February 13 and will be last one of the present government, is likely to be stormy as the government will make efforts to pass the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and the triple talaq bill. Time and again, both of these have faced stiff resistance from the Opposition and by some of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) allies as well.
Meanwhile, the Opposition is likely to corner the government on a range of issues, including the contentious Rafale fighter jet deal and alleged agrarian distress. If reports are to be believed, the Centre is likely to table a Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) report on the Rafale deal during the session.
The Interim Budget 2019 will be presented during the session on Friday by interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal on February 1. The tradition in an election year is to present an Interim Budget or Vote on Account. The full Budget is presented by the new government after the elections.
Besides, the Citizenship Amendment Bill and triple talaq bill, the government will also be keen on getting the Representation of the People Act (Amendment) Bill 2017, which will allow NRIs to cast their vote in Indian polls through proxies, passed in the session. Notably, these key bills are struck in the Rajya Sabha where the government lacks numbers.
The Congress on Wednesday announced that it will issue a three-line whip to its members of Rajya Sabha to vote against the Citizenship bill. The decision was taken after separate meetings with Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad.
On the eve of Budget session, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan called an all-party meet and said that all have assured their cooperation in smooth functioning of the house and urged the members to raise issues of national importance.
Addressing the media after the meeting, Mahajan said, “All parties have assured their cooperation in smooth functioning of the house. Members from various parties have suggested that there should be debate on farmers’ issues.” In total, there will be 10 sittings of the house in this session and the Speaker suggested that members make it a fruitful session by raising issues of national importance.
Rajya Sabha M Venkaiah Naidu will hold a similar meeting on the morning of January 31.