The Budget session of the Parliament begins today. As many as 28 bills will be tabled in the Lok Sabha, while 39 bills are listed for the Rajya Sabha for the upcoming session. On February 1, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will present the last full Budget of the present government. This session is extremely crucial for the rulling government, which is set to face eight state elections in 2018 and the General Election in 2019.
As much as it crucial because there are eight state elections in 2018 and the General Election in 2019, it is also the first post-GST Budget — with its own increased challenges and decreased kick of "what got cheaper; what got dearer".
Top 10 developments
1. Budget session schedule
The Budget Session 2018 has been scheduled to be held from Monday (January 29) may conclude on April 6 due to exigencies of government business. During this period, both Houses of Parliament will be adjourned for recess on February 9 to reassemble on March 5, so to enable the Standing Committees to examine the demands of grants of various Ministries/ Departments and make their reports thereon. Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Ananth Kumar said, "The Session will provide a total of 31 sittings (8 sittings in First part and 23 sittings in the Second part) spread over a period of 68 days".
The Economic Survey of India will be presented to Parliament on Monday, January 29. Ahead of the Union Budget, the finance ministry every year presents the economic survey, which reviews the overall state of the economy in the last 12 months. In August last year however, the government for the first time presented a mid-term economic survey.
Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian has announced a survey-dedicated webpage — #economicsurvey18.
3. Indian Economy on the recovery path
As far as the next financial year is concerned, analysts and rating agencies have signalled a recovery in the economy. Various sources have predicted the growth rate in a range of 7 per cent to 7.5 per cent. In November the factory output grew at 17-month high pace of 8.4 per cent, indicating green shoots. The government and analysts alike have opined that the roll out of GST has more or less overcome the teething troubles and will start bearing fruits.
ALSO READ: Economy looks set for a rebound
Prime Minister Narendra Modi exhorted all political parties to collectively strive to create a constructive atmosphere in Budget Session, and assured that the government gives huge importance to the issues raised by all political parties.
Addressing the political parties' floor leaders of Parliament at the all-party meeting called ahead of the Budget Session, Prime Minister encouraged all political parties to prevent tokenism in different Standing Committees of the Parliament and asked all to play a more constructive role to give concrete solutions to issues of national importance brought before the Committees.
5. First post-GST Budget
This will be the first Budget in the post- GST (Goods and Services Tax) era. It will need to take into account only those items like petroleum products that still remain outside the purview of GST. The 2018-19 budget could thus contain changes in customs and excise duties on these remaining products, which for most others have been subsumed under GST.
6. Govt to ensure passage of Triple Talaq bill in Budget session
A day before the start of the Budget session, BJP leaders met several parties and sought their cooperation in ensuring the Triple Talaq bill is passed in the parliament.
Making a strong pitch for the passage, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, union ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Ananth Kumar, and other leaders of the Opposition attended the meeting.
7. Speakers will try to accomodate all issues
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Sunday said that efforts will be made to accommodate all the issues in the upcoming Budget session.
Mahajan said, "several issues were discussed and we will try to accommodate all of them. Today, everyone said they will cooperate, so I hope the Budget session goes on smoothly."
The Lok sabha Speaker further informed that the first phase of the session comprises 36 hours, of which only 19 hours will be left for discussions.
8. Bills that may be discussed in this Budget session
The Muslim Women's (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 related to triple talaq, the Codes of Wages Bill, 2017, Rights of Children to Free and Compulsory Education, 2017 are among the important bills that will be tabled for discussion and passage. As many as 28 bills will be tabled in the Lok Sabha, while 39 bills are listed for the Rajya Sabha for the upcoming session. Long pending issues including the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016 and the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016, will be discussed in the Lower House.
9. Shashi Tharoor said, "It will be Modi's last Budget"
"They must live up to the promises that they had made. So, they may do something on employment to catch attention," he said.
Tharoor made a direct attack on Modi by saying: "Jisne kaha ki na khaunga aur na khane dunga, who aaj pakode ki baat karne lage hain. Woh nahi samajhte ki log chai aur pakode isliye bech rahe hain kyonki jobs nahi hai (The one who said he will neither be corrupt nor tolerate corruption is today talking about pakodas. He does not understand that people are selling tea and pakodas only because there are no jobs)."
10. Opposition set to counter Modi govt
The Opposition plans to counter the government on rising incidents of rapes, the alleged "attack" on constitutional institutions and the plight of traders. "We want to raise these issues as they are important. The government should adopt a cooperative attitude and allow the opposition to raise these issues," Congress leader Pramod Tiwari was quoted as saying ahead of the meeting.