The government has opened communication channels with opposition parties for a smooth conduct of the Budget session that began amid a boycott by some opposition parties of the President’s address to the joint sitting of Parliament on January 29 (Friday) in protest against the agriculture laws.
The session began with strict rules in force in view of the COVID pandemic. In September the monsoon session had ended eight days early after MPs and ministers tested positive.
Media reports said Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi are in talks with floor leaders of opposition parties via videoconference. Minister of State for Water Resources and Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal and his colleague V Muralidharan are also part of the government team to engage with the opposition.
The Budget session will run till the first week of April and is set to be acrimonious, with the opposition determined to take on the Centre over the three farm laws passed in September last year. The session will go into a recess from February 15 till March 8. During this period the various department-related standing committees will discuss the demands for grants for various ministries and prepare reports.
In the last session, the Opposition was furious with the government over the “haste” in which the farm laws were passed using “brute majority”. Many MPs were seen tearing up the copies of the laws.
Besides the Budget presentation on February 1, the opposition is expected to corner the government again on repeal of the farm laws and the Chinese intrusion in the northeast. The government is likely to list its achievements in containing the COVID epidemic and successfully launching India’s vaccination programme.
“This is for the first time in India’s history, in a way, the Finance Minister had to present 4-5 mini budgets in 2020 in the form of different packages. So this Budget will be seen as a part of those 4-5 mini budgets,” Prime Minister Modi said before the session began on .
“As expected by the entire country, there should be discussions in this session focusing on the decade. I believe that none of us will lag behind in making our contributions for the fulfillment of people’s dreams and aspirations,” the Prime Minister said while speaking to the media outside Parliament.