Sparks are set to fly as Parliament meets for the Monsoon session beginning on Monday, with the Opposition, boosted by the Supreme Court verdict on Arunachal Pradesh, seeking to corner the treasury benches on a host of issues, including India’s failure to secure Nuclear Suppliers’ Group membership.
Besides the political developments in Arunachal, which saw the installation of a new Congress dispensation in the state, the Modi government’s decision to seek a report from the Law Commission on the proposal for introducing a Uniform Civil Code are likely make the session a tempestuous affair.
On the other hand, the government is hopeful of a breakthrough on the key Goods and Services Tax bill, which it wants passed during the session, following a recent meeting between senior ministers and top Congress leaders. The two sides are likely to meet again during the session.
On Friday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu had met Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma to iron out differences on key clauses of the GST bill.
The contentious Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill, 2014, known as the GST Bill was moved in the Upper House in August last year after being passed by Lok Sabha.
The government is hopeful of the passage of the GST bill in this session amid indications that a number of regional parties have broken ranks with Congress on the issue and are willing to extend their support to the crucial economic reform measure.
With the opposition set to raise the issue of India’s failure to get a berth in the NSG, the government has said External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was ready for discussion on issues including prime minister’s recent foreign tours.
Besides the GST, another key legislation pending passage is the Whistle Blowers Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2015, which was moved in December last year but the discussion on it had remained inconclusive. In the Budget Session this year, this bill could not be taken up for debate.
In the Lok Sabha, important pending bills, include the Consumer Protection Bill 2015 and the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Bill, 2015.
The last few sessions of Parliament have seen frequent face-offs between the ruling and the opposition benches but the second part of the Budget session saw a relative improvement as far the completion of government business was concerned.
The session comes at a time when the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s morale is high after its maiden victory in Assam assembly polls and its performance in Kerala and West Bengal elections.