Two-phase Budget session commences, could be last for UPA
The budget session for 2008-2009 is likely to be special and crucial as it may decide the future prospects of the government. The Budget session of Parliament begins on Monday with the joint session addressing by the President.
This session could be the last one for the Congress-led UPA government as the general election is due to be held in first month of 2009 and before that seven states had to go for elections in the coming months. So, both the government and the Opposition will try to improve their pro-people image.
For the UPA government this session could be the last one, so the Congress will try its best for the nuclear deal with the US be signed, whereas the Left and the Opposition will oppose it premeditatedly.
The President will address the joint session of last budget of the 14th Lok Sabha on Monday followed by Railway budget on Tuesday and the general budget on Friday. The government will present the economic survey on Thursday.
The government will try to address its political interests through the Rail and general budget and by augmenting allocation for the Schedule Tribes and Schedule Castes.
The common man could be showered with sops- a trick that could not be proved fruitful for the NDA government in 2004.
The UPA government has planned to present six ordinary bills for introduction, comprising the Delimitation (Amendment) Ordinance, the Sugar Development Fund (Amendment), the Prasar Bharati Broadcasting Corporation of India (Amendment) Bill and the Food Safety and Standards (Amendment) Ordinance. The A category bills for introduction include the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2008.
Besides other key issues will be present on the table like internal security, a law to check surrogate advertising for liquor and tobacco products, Raj Thackeray sponsored Outsider debate and many more especially Reservation for women, but, not as a new bill but as a Constitution amendment bill.
Sources also say that though the Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priyaranjan Das Munshi had said the government was keen to give constitutional direction to this much delayed bill, but also indicated that the government had rejection of the Opposition stand that the respective political parties could provide quota for women in their list of candidates.
The Left wants the Budget to be pro-common man and the government to spend more on farmers, but reduction to their lending rates, and health and education sectors.
The government will face attack on the question of farmers’ distress especially the condition of small and marginalized farmers, the sheer mount in prices of essential commodities, and the recent crude oil hike.
The opposition will try to encircle government as it has more issues lined up against the Centre.
The anti-north Indian agitation in Maharashtra by the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena might be the key issue to be raised by the Samajwadi party.
On the eve of the Budget session a meeting was convened by Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee where almost all non-government parties said they wanted to discuss price rise comprising the recent hike in petrol and diesel prices, the agrarian crisis causing for farmers’ suicide. The Sethusamudram project and the Telangana issue were also mentioned.
The first session of the Budget that is commencing on Monday will be go on till March 20 and is likely to resume on April 15.
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