Parliament expected to see lot of work in Budget session

The session will start with the address of President to joint sitting of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

Last Updated: Feb 20, 2011, 10:11 AM IST

New Delhi: With the issue of JPC into the 2G spectrum scam resolved, the Budget session of Parliament beginning on Monday is expected to see a lot of work including the Budget, as against the washout of the winter session.

The shadow of the Winter session, which saw the longest shutdown of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, is no longer looming large over the budget session given the signals by the government indicating formation of a Joint Parliamentary Committee.

Faced with a rash of scams, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Leader of the Lok Sabha Pranab Mukherjee and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal have given signals that the government was ready to go the extra mile on the JPC issue and a decision will be taken by Wednesday.

Before the formal announcement about the probe, the talk in opposition circles has turned to the nitty-gritty of the JPC at a time the government appeared to rule out widening its ambit to cover other scandals, a demand by the BJP.

After indications emerged that the UPA government may agree to formation of the JPC to probe the 2G scam, an issue which had derailed the entire winter session of Parliament, BJP has been talking of inclusion of the Commonwealth Games scandal and the Adarsh Housing scam also in its ambit.

Government managers are making it known that unlike any dispensation in the past, it was pursuing the probe into the scandals relentlessly with one of the former cabinet ministers cooling his heels in Tihar, high and mighty in the business world being questioned and a chief minister being shown the door.

"Wrongdoers will be punished," is the refrain of the ruling formation which is expected to utilise the presentation of the Union Budget 2011-12 on February 28 as an exercise to reach out to the common man, hit hard by the price rise.

While the Railway Budget 2011-12 will be presented on February 25, the Economic Survey will be tabled on the same day. The talk is that Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, being projected as the next West Bengal chief minister, will go the whole hog in the exercise to placate rail passengers by not tinkering with the fares.

The session will start tomorrow with the address of President Pratibha Patil to the joint sitting of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. The session will conclude on April 21 because of Assembly Elections in five states in early May.

There will be a three-week recess from March 16 to April 04.

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.

The Equal Opportunity bill, being brought as per the recommendations of the Sachar Committee which went into the plight of Muslims, had been a subject of controversy with a number of ministries objecting to its overriding mandate, after which the government limited its scope only to minorities.

The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Amendment Bill and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Bill are among other measures being introduced.

Women`s Reservation Bill, officially known as the Constitution (108 Amendment) bill, is among the 31 bills being brought for consideration and passage during the two-month session. The bill which has already been passed in the Rajya Sabha, seeks to provide one-third reservation to women in the Lok Sabha and the state assemblies.=

Among the economic bills, the government proposes to introduce the Constitution Amendment Bill to pave the way for introduction of the long-awaited Goods and Services Tax (GST).

The other important economic legislations slated to be taken up by the government in Parliament include the Companies (Amendment) Bill 2009 and the Chartered Accountants (Amendment) Bill 2010.

PTI