Two all-party meetings slated today ahead of budget session

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday sought the opposition's support for smooth functioning of the Budget Session of Parliament in an all party meet, but opposition members made a vocal protest against the budget presentation on February 1, around a month earlier than usual.

The session's first day - January 31 will see President Pranab Mukherjee address a joint sitting of both houses and the Economic Survey will also be presented.

The Prime Minister urged leaders of all the political parties to rise above party lines to cooperate with the Government and hoped that the experience of the last Winter session is not repeated. The Opposition in unison protested against the government's decision to present the Budget early, advanced from the usual February 28 date, just four days prior to polling.

Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Sitaram Yechury said the decision to have an early budget will have consequences. In its reply, the poll watchdog had asked the government not to announce any specific schemes for the five states which are going to polls.

The Congress, on the other hand, has taken strong objection to the shifting of the presentation of the Budget by nearly a month, from February 28 to February 1. This will be the first budget that will be presented on February 1.The Government while advancing the date said that it wanted the Budget to be cleared so that work could begin properly from the April I the date the fiscal year starts.The impact of the demonetisation on various sectors of the economy and on the commonman in general would continue to be one of the main issues on which the Opposition would try to corner the Government.

"The Prime Minister said that differences may arise between parties but democracy should win, and there should be a debate in Parliament", Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ananth Kumar said after the meeting.

"The government's efforts will be that the Budget should benefit all and take the country forward", Kumar said.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said that he has asked the government to avoid any announcement or concession in the Union Budget which impacts level playing field in upcoming assembly elections.

He also said that presentation of Budget on February 1 is unscientific as it will not take into consideration the statistical data of the third quarter that comes only in mid-February. "At the all-party meeting, we will discuss about this and how can they go ahead with the exercise", he said.

The Trinamool Congress, which did not attend the meeting, has chose to boycott the first two days of the Budget session, including the Budget presentation.

Related News: