The Budget session of Parliament begins on Tuesday with the maiden address of President Droupadi Murmu to the joint sitting of both Houses.
While the government’s priority will be to seek approval on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address and the Finance Bill, the Opposition is raring to corner it on a range of issues, a nationwide caste-based economic census and the women’s reservation bill.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the Modi government’s final full-fledged Union Budget before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections on February 1. The Economic Survey will be tabled on Tuesday after the President’s address.
During the session, the government plans to bring around 36 bills – including four related to the budgetary exercise. The session will have 27 sittings and will continue till April 6 with a month-long recess to examine the budget papers.
On February 14, the first part of the session will conclude and on March 12 Parliament will reconvene for the second part of the Budget Session.
At an all-party meeting convened by it on Monday, the government said it was willing to discuss every issue under the rules during the Budget Session of Parliament.
“We seek the Opposition’s cooperation” in running the proceedings smoothly, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said after the meeting which was attended by 37 leaders, including Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, representing 27 parties.
At the meeting, Aam Aadmi Party’s Sanjay Singh, RJD’s Manoj Jha, DMK, Left parties and others raised the issue and sought a discussion on it in Parliament during the session. Parties like the BRS and DMK raised the issue of the conduct of governors in states ruled by them. The YSR Congress demanded a nationwide caste-based economic census.
YSR Congress leader Vijaysai Reddy said backward castes are over 50 per cent of the total population and the census will help find their economic status.
The ruling party in Andhra Pradesh has joined the likes of the JD(U) and the RJD, both of which have demanded a caste census. The grand alliance government in Bihar has rolled out a state-wide caste survey.
Reddy said his party also demanded the passage of the women’s quota bill for ensuring reservation for them in Parliament. Parties including the BRS, TMC and the BJD also supported the demand.