Budget session would be fruitful; ready to discuss any issue: PM

Putting aside its winter fiasco, Parl is all set for a smooth budget session with Pranab Mukherjee assuring of a JPC probe on Feb 22.

Last Updated: Feb 20, 2011, 23:54 PM IST

New Delhi: Putting aside its winter
fiasco, Parliament is all set for a smooth budget session from
Monday with the government telling the opposition that an
announcement on the constitution of a JPC into the 2G spectrum
will be made on 22nd February.

Leader of the House in the Lok Sabha and Finance
Minister Pranab Mukherjee gave the assurance to opposition
leaders at a meeting convened by the Speaker Meira Kumar that
the government will make the announcement in the House on JPC
on Tuesday when actual proceedings of the budget session
start.

Tomorrow, the session gets a formal start with the
President`s address to the joint sitting of both the Houses of
Parliament. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed the hope
that the budget session would be "fruitful and productive".

The General Budget for 2011/12 will be presented on
February 28 while the Railway budget on February 25. The pre-
budget Economic Survey will also be tabled on February 25.

Officially there was no word from the government on its
plans on conceding to the JPC demand over which the entire
winter session was washed out but opposition leaders coming
out of the meeting disclosed the government`s intention.

They said in keeping with Parliamentary norms that a
formal statement should be made in the House, the government
was reticent about making it public.

One opposition leader, who attended the meeting, said
that while giving the assurance Mukherjee told them not to
speak about it.

CPI Parliamentary Party leader Gurudas Dasgupta told the
media, "why you want me to break the niceties. Government has
agreed on the JPC. It has come in the media".

During the meeting, the opposition leaders made it clear
that Parliament would not function if there was no
announcement by the government on the JPC on Tuesday.

After the two month long deadlock, indications had
emerged from the government a fortnight ago that it was ready
to blink with Mukherjee telling opposition leaders that no
price was dearer than Parliament`s functioning.

Scenting success, the BJP sought to widen the ambit of
the JPC by seeking probe into other scams like CWG and Adarsh
Housing. But on Sunday, the party`s Deputy Leader in Lok Sabha
Gopinath Munde said after the meeting that the JPC would be on
2G and his party would seek discussion on other scams.

The Prime Minister, who joined the leaders over lunch at
the Parliament complex, hoped that the budget session will be
a "peaceful and productive session".

"We are looking forward to a fruitful and productive
session. The government on its part is ready to discuss any
issue which may be brought by the opposition. So I am hopeful
that this will be a peaceful and productive session", he said.

"I am always satisfied, I am always optimistic", Singh
said when asked whether he was satisfied over the outcome of
today`s meeting.

The Prime Minister said that a lot of legislative works
have to be accomplished, the budget of the central government
has to be passed and this, therefore, is the most important
session of Parliament.

Munde also said that his party was seeking to impress
upon the government that the JPC should have more than 30
members so that smaller parties could also get representation
in it.

Asked whether the government an announcement about JPC
on Tuesday, the Speaker said she was, "fully hopeful and
confident", that the session would be a smooth affair.

Dasgupta said that the government should explain the
measures it planned to take to combat "economic terrorism"
given the fact that for the first time a minister had been
arrested by his own government and sent to Tihar Jail.

He said that the government should spell out the mechanism
in this regard as the JPC would not be able to deal with the
overall issue.

Opposition leaders also said that they would be raising
a variety of issues including price rise, Centre-States
relations, communal violence and unemployment.

Before the formal announcement about the JPC probe, the
talk in political circles has turned to the nitty-gritty of
the JPC.

There have been issues galore for the opposition ranging
from the S-Band deal being dubbed by them as a mega scam to
the controversy over the appointment of PJ Thomas as CVC.

The failure of the naxalite strategy as seen from the
abduction of a collector in Orissa, the situation in J&K
as also the new revelation as regards investigations into the
Samjhauta blast and the Malegaon blast are also likely to be
raised by parties like Samajwadi Party.

BJP as well as Left party members are expected to raise
the issues of price rise, black money and petrol prices. The
issue of Tiranga yatra is also likely to be raised by BJP.

As many as 32 bills including the controversial Communal
Violence Bill, Press and Registration of Books and
Publications Bill and the Land Acquisition (Amendment) bill
will be introduced during the session.

The Press and Registration of Books and Publications
bill has been dubbed as `draconian` by the Indian Newspaper
Society, a body of newspaper owners, which alleged that the
measure has been brought without consulting it.

Trinamool Congress, which is a key component of UPA, has
reservations about the Land Acquisition (amendment) bill as
land acquisition is a ticklish issue in Assembly poll-bound
West Bengal.

The bill seeks to amend the land acquisition Act whose
provisions have sparked controversy. It is being brought along
with the Rehabilitation and Resettlement bill.

PTI