Opposition to target govt on price rise

 06 Jul 2014 - 0:56

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets media persons after an all-party meeting ahead of the budget session, at Parliament House in New Delhi.

New Delhi: Opposition parties would seek to pin down the NDA government on the issue of price rise during the budget session of parliament beginning tomorrow, as the ruling coalition said that it was prepared to discuss all issues.
At a meeting of leaders of parties in the Lok Sabha yesterday, called by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan ahead of the budget session, opposition parties, however, said they would cooperate in the smooth running of the house.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu told media persons that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will make a statement on the situation of Indians in Iraq in the two houses of parliament.
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government will bring bills to replace ordinances concerning the Polavaram project and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (amendment) ordinance which paved the way for appointment of Nripendra Misra as principal secretary to the prime minister.
Naidu said he had told various ministries to come up with lists of bills pending in Rajya Sabha and those which had lapsed in the Lok Sabha and these will be taken up after their timing is decided in the business advisory council.
“We will be taking up the general budget, the rail budget, Delhi budget. Also, we are willing to discuss any issue of national importance,” he said.
With the opposition parties making a strong pitch to raise the issues of price rise and the railway fare hike, Naidu suggested that these issues could be raised during discussion on the rail and general budgets. Some parties also said that they would raise the issue of Sri Lanka arresting Indian fishermen.
The railway budget will be presented on July 8 and the general budget on July 10.
Naidu said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had told him the government was prepared to discuss any issue permitted by the chair.
“We assured the speaker of our full cooperation in conducting the house in a dignified manner. I appeal to the opposition that decorum of the house is maintained,” he said.
Mahajan said that her meeting with the leaders of various parties was “very good” and they had assured her of their cooperation. She said there were various suggestions for discussions and the government said “they wanted to give full time for discussions”.
She said that as standing committees had not been constituted yet, discussions on demands of grants of ministries will be held in the house. She said the session, which ends on August 14, will have 168 hours for work.
The speaker steered clear of questions on the issue of granting leader of opposition status to the Congress and said that the meeting she had convened was to discuss the business before the house. The Congress leader in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, also indicated the issue was not raised at the meeting.
Mahajan also said that Lok Sabha proceedings will have a new feature and the picture of the member who is speaking will be shown on a screen for all members to see him or her clearly. “This was the desire of many members as they had to turn back and see,” she said.
Trinamool Congress leader Kalyan Banerjee said the party was keen that issues of price hike and increase in rail fares before the rail budget were taken up early. He also attacked the government on the issue of federalism, saying though the government said that it had great respect for federalism, “in essence we don’t see the signs of such federalism”.
Modi did not attend the meeting but was present at the lunch later.