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Opposition Gears Up To Corner Govt In Budget Session

New Delhi: The Budget session of Parliament, beginning on Friday, is set to be stormy as the opposition parties plan to take on the government on issues, like the economic slowdown and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) that is facing countrywide protests.

The opposition parties are also putting up a united front against the Narendra Modi government on issues, such as the National Population Register (NPR) and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), which has also seen violent protests in the various parts of the country.

It’s learnt the opposition will pressurise the government to “roll back” the CAA. The law and order issue will also be raised during the Budget session, the third of 17th Lok Sabha.

To set the tone the opposition, led by the Congress, has planned to stage a protest at Mahatma Gandhi statue on Parliament campus before President Ram Nath Kovind’s address to the joint sitting of Parliament at 11 a.m. and the presentation of the Economic Survey.

The House will meet in two phases — from January 31 to February 11, and from March 2 to April 3. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present her second Union Budget on February 1 and may attempt to reverse the economic slowdown that has gripped India, Asia’s third-largest economy.

At the all-party meeting on Thursday, 26 opposition parties took part. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, senior Ministers, Congress leaders Anand Sharma and Ghulam Nabi Azad and Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay, as well as representatives of other parties attended the meeting.

Chairing the all-party meet, the Prime Minister said the government was ready to debate all issues. “We welcome suggestions from everyone in perspective of present global situation and how India can take advantage of it,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said after the meeting.

The House may take up over 20 pending bills, which were listed in the winter session. The Personal Data Protection Bill is among the key Bills to be taken up in this session. The Bill was on January 23 referred to a joint parliamentary committee under the chairmanship of Meenakashi Lekhi for examination.

Union Electronic and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad while introducing the Bill in the Lok Sabha on December 11 had said it would empower the government to ask companies, including Facebook and Google for anonymised personal data and non-personal data.

Legal experts have red-flagged the issue and said the provision will give the government unaccounted access to personal data. The Bill defines personal data as information that can help in identification of an individual and has characteristics, traits and other features of a person’s identity.

The government is likely to come up with the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill to amend the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971 for expanding access of women to safe and legal abortion services on therapeutic, eugenic, humanitarian or social grounds.

The National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill will also be introduced for amending the Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973. The Bill is pending in the Rajya Sabha.

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill, the Central Sanskrit University Bill, the Code on Social Security, the Maintenance & Welfare of Parents & Senior Citizens (Amendment) Bill, the Anti-Maritime Piracy Bill, the Industrial Relations Code Bill, the Inter-State River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill, and the Occupational Safety and Health and Working Conditions Code are also likely to be introduced in this session.

(IANS) 

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