Asserting that it is collective responsibility of all parties to ensure effective functioning of Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday stressed on the importance of the Budget Session and said that the people of the country look at the session with lot of hopes and expectations.
Prime Minister Modi assured the leaders of various political parties that all issues raised by them would be discussed in an appropriate manner keeping in view their importance and priority.
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Addressing the leaders of various parties in both the Houses of Parliament at a meeting convened by the government for mutual consultations on the Budget Session, Prime Minister Modi said that it is the collective responsibility of all parties and leaders to enable the people fulfil their hopes and aspirations through proper functioning of both the Houses of Parliament.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu in his opening remarks gave details of the 44-item agenda of the government for the Budget Session including financial, legislative and non-legislative business.
He said that of the six Ordinances to be converted into Acts of Parliament by April 5, 2015, there has been a broad consensus on five of them relating to Citizenship for Overseas Indians, Introduction of e-rickshaws, allocation of coal blocks and non-coal mines through open bidding.
On the Insurance Ordinance, he said that further to the suggestion of opposition parties, a Select Committee of Rajya Sabha has been set up and the same had submitted its report which amounts to a broad view of the House and there is no reason for two views in the matter.
Naidu further said the Government is willing to address concerns if any on the Land Acquisition Ordinance.
"Several state governments cutting across party line have expressed difficulties in land acquisition for development projects under the Act of 2013 and sought modifications. Subsequently, the central government sought to facilitate land acquisition for notified purposes like infrastructure and affordable housing projects etc., in an easy manner without compromising on the remuneration to be paid to farmers and rehabilitation measures to be taken up for displaced persons. The Government is ready to address apprehensions, if any in this regard," he said.
"I would like to assure you all that the government is always willing to sit with opposition to resolve any differences on any issue. I don't think there is any issue that can't be resolved if approached with open mind. What is required is the spirit of mutual cooperation in the true spirit of Parliamentary democracy. Let us collectively strive to build a conducive environment for effective functioning of Parliament during the Budget session," he added.
Over thirty leaders from both the Houses of Parliament expressed their views with most of them highlighting the need for smooth functioning of Parliament to enable discussion on all issues of concern both for the government and the opposition.
Several leaders welcomed the Prime Minister's recent statement on religious freedom and right to promote one's religion and his call for respecting all religions.
"Parliamentary democracy is all about deciding on issues through discussion. Different parties will convey their views on Ordinances and other issues whenever taken up," said Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge.
"Budget Session is important and we need to ensure smooth functioning of Parliament," said Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar.
Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader Bhartruhari Mahtab on his part said that there has been undue focus on the Ordinances in the media.
"There has been undue focus on the Ordinances in the media in general while it should have been on the Budget and economic issues. We need to focus on budget issues. We want both the Houses to function smoothly and decide on major issues. Efforts shall be made to move forward on important issues through rapprochement," he said.
Leaders of different parties from Tamil Nadu suggested that during the forthcoming visit of the Prime Minister to Sri Lanka, a conductive atmosphere may be created for protecting the rights of Tamil fishermen and Tamils in Sri Lanka.
People's representatives from Andhra Pradesh sought necessary action for fulfilling the assurances given to the state in the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act including the Special Status and Special Package for the state. TRS leaders also spoke of the need for doing the needful for the state of Telangana.
Leaders from the north-east suggested that they be given sufficient time in both the Houses putting aside the principle of time allocation based on numerical strength.
Issues suggested for discussion during the ensuing Budget session by leaders of different parties include: agrarian crisis, safety and security of women, espionage issue, communal harmony, free academic environment, passing on the benefit of declining international oil prices to public, Swine flu outbreak, Election reforms, price rise, natural calamities, development of North-East, reservation for women in legislatures etc.
The Parliamentary Affairs Minister later said that the all-party meet concluded on a very positive note and thanked the leaders for their views and suggestions.