NEW DELHI:With fireworks expected in the upcoming Budget session of Parliament, the Centre has decided to reach out to the Opposition parties.
A day before the session opens on February 23 with the Presidential Address, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu is scheduled to host a luncheon meeting for the Opposition leaders.
Venkaiah will have a tough time ahead of him as the Opposition parties are gearing up to corner the government on a number of issues ranging from the attack on churches to the changes in the Land Acquisition Act. Venkaiah said he would engage with the Opposition leaders to get them onboard to ensure the passage of key legislation lined up for the session. The biggest challenge for the government will be to get the recently-promulgated six Ordinances passed as the Amendment Bills in the Rajya Sabha, where the government lacks the numbers.
The six Ordinances on coal mines, land acquisition, insurance FDI cap, e-rickshaws and citizenship rights will have to be replaced with legislation. As the Budget session begins, a series of protests are also likely to be held in the capital by those opposed to these Ordinances. Anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare is also expected to begin his agitation at the same time. The government has lined up a heavy legislative agenda for the session.
The first half of the Budget session from February 23 to March 20 will be devoted to passage of Railway and General Budget, apart from the discussion on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address. The government will have only four days in the upcoming session for bringing in the other Bills. The majority of Bills may be brought during the second half of the session from April 20 to May 8.
Venkaiah had on Monday met over 20 ministers and senior ministry officials where Bills for the respective ministers were discussed. Sources said at least 20 Bills, including those on Ordinances, were listed. Venkaiah asked the ministers to suggest more Bills which could be introduced the session. Sources said the government would keep the option of convening a Joint Session of Parliament as a last option in case some of its Bills are held up.