Budget session of Parliament to begin today

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Budget session of Parliament to begin today

New Delhi, March 13: The second part of the Parliament’s Budget session begins on Monday with the Opposition set to corner the government on a range of issues, including rising unemployment, a reduction in the interest rate on employees’ provident fund and the evacuation of Indians stranded in war-hit Ukraine.

Top on the government’s agenda would be getting Parliament’s approval to the budgetary proposals and presentation of the budget for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is set to present the budget for Jammu and Kashmir in the Lok Sabha on Monday and it is expected to be taken up for discussion in the post-lunch sitting of the House.

The government has also listed the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill for consideration and passing in the Lok Sabha.

With the COVID-19 situation easing out considerably, both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha will have simultaneous sittings from 11 am, instead of the two separate shifts during the first part of the Budget session from January 29 to February 11.

The session convenes days after the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) registered victories in the Assembly polls in four states — Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur — while the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) stormed to power in Punjab.

The first part of the Budget session had begun on January 29 with President Ram Nath Kovind’s address to a joint sitting of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha in the Central Hall of Parliament, which was followed by the presentation of the Economic Survey.

Sitharaman presented the Union Budget on February 1, which was followed by discussions on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address and the Union Budget.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi chaired a meeting of the party’s Parliament Strategy Group at her residence and decided to work in coordination with like-minded political parties during the Budget session.

“We will work in coordination with other like-minded parties to raise issues of public importance during the session,” Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge told reporters after the meeting.

He said the issues to be raised during the session include the evacuation and safety of the Indian students in Ukraine, inflation, unemployment, labour matters and MSP for farmers as promised by the government.

On Saturday, the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) decided to slash the interest rate on employees’ provident funds from 8.5 per cent to 8.1 per cent.

Opposition leaders are also expected to demand a statement from the government on the evacuation of Indian nationals, mostly students, stranded in war-hit Ukraine. The Opposition had hit out at the government over the “delay” in rescuing the students caught in the war zone and criticised the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) for issuing “vague” advisories.

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