Budget Session of Parliament Begins Today, Opposition Plans to Corner Government over Price Rise

The Narendra Modi government faces its first test in Parliament when the Budget Session begins today. The Opposition is expected the corner the government on the issue of price rise, rail fare hike and the plight of Tamil Nadu fishermen.

The Opposition parties made their intentions clear at an all-party meeting called by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Saturday.

The session will begin on July 7 and conclude on August 14.

"The session will have 28 sittings and 168 working hours. Since the Standing Committees for various ministries are yet to be constituted, the demands for grants for various ministries will be passed by both Houses by July 31 after discussion in Parliament instead of the committees," Ms Mahajan said after the meeting on Saturday.

"Government is willing to give full time to discuss any issue. They are ready to discuss every issue. Different suggestions have come and they will be decided after the meeting of the Business Advisory Committee," she added.

Ms Mahajan also said that Lok Sabha proceedings in the session will have a new feature where the picture of members speaking will be shown on the screen to enable all members sitting even on front benches to see those speaking from the rear benches.

The Speaker, however, steered clear of all questions on the issue of granting Leader of Opposition status to the Congress, saying the meeting she had convened was to discuss the business before the House.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu said the government is ready for a discussion on any issue and appealed to the Opposition to "cooperate" to ensure that the decorum and dignity of Parliament is maintained and the House business was carried out smoothly.

"We will be taking up the General Budget, Railway Budget and also willing to discuss any issue of national importance... the government will also make a statement on the situation of Indians in Iraq. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will make the statement in both Houses," Mr Naidu said on Saturday after the luncheon meeting.

The government also intends to bring bills to replace the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India or TRAI (Amendment) Ordinance, 2014 and the Ordinance with respect to Polavaram project under Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2014.

The TRAI (Amendment) Ordinance cleared on May 28 ensured that the government could appoint Nripendra Misra as Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister. The Andhra Pradesh ordinance was promulgated on May 29, ahead of the official division of the state on June 2.

Mr Naidu also said that Commerce Ministry will be bringing a bill on the National Institute of Design.

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