With the budget session being truncated because of Assembly elections in five states, the government is planning a special sitting of around ten days in May end to make up for the lost time.
This sitting will be used for legislative business, which will not be able to be taken up during the ongoing session ending on March 25 after completion of the crucial financial business. The finance bill will be passed on March 22, after a two-day debate on it.
The general budget will be discussed on March 8 and 9 and the guillotine on the supplementary demands for grants of ministries will be applied on March 17 evening. At a meeting of the Lok Sabha’s Business Advisory Committee (BAC) on Friday, it was decided to discuss four ministries in the House-external affairs, mining, rural development and surface transport.
While the demand to debate external affairs was made by the BJP, the Congress sought a discussion on mining, the Samajwadi Party on rural development and the JD-U on surface transport. The BAC also decided to debate the issue of Indian fishermen being allegedly killed by the Sri Lankan navy and the Rewari issue. Though two days have been kept for any exigency owing to disruptions, the women’s reservation bill did not figure at the meeting while deciding the schedule for the rest of the session. The government was pondering over two options-either extending the monsoon session or having a special sitting after completion of the election process in the five states. It is likely that the budget session will not be prorogued after its adjourned on March 25. The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs (CCPA) chaired by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee recommended ending the session on March 25 and placed it before the BAC. The first phase of the budget session was, according to the original schedule, to end on March 16 for a recess following which it was to reassemble from April 4 to 21. This schedule had to be changed as around 120 mps would be busy with assembly elections in April and May in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal, Assam and Puducherry.