Government Prepares List Of Nine Bills But Opposition Opposed To Any Move To Extend The Session

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New Delhi: The NDA government has prepared a list of nine bills, including two on crucial labour reforms, for passage in the ongoing Budget session of Parliament, which it is hoping to extend even as opposition parties are vehemently opposed to any move to extend the session. The session, which started on June 17 in the Lok Sabha, is scheduled to end on July 26, but the government is exploring the possibility of extending it to the first week of August.

The budget session has turned out to be the most productive in the past 20 years in terms of utilization of time, and the National Democratic Alliance’s floor managers in the House are looking at a longer session to push through a few more bills. A senior BJP leader said on condition of anonymity that the House is functioning smoothly after a long time and that this is the right time to try to clear many pending bills. As many as 11 bills have already been cleared by both Houses during the session.

Apart from the Wage Code bill and the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code bill, the government also wants Parliament’s approval for the Transgender Persons (protection of rights) bill, National Medical Commission bill, amendments to the insolvency and bankruptcy code, amendments to the inter-state river water disputes law and the National Institute of Design Act, and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) amendment bill.

The government is also keen to debate issues related to the tourism sector and water conservation.

Opposition parties such as the Congress, the Trinamool Congress, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Aam Aadmi Party have told government managers that they are totally opposed to any plan to extend the session. Trinamool Congress’ Lok Sabha leader Sudip Bandopadhyay said: “Many of us have made plans and programmes in our constituencies keeping in mind the session will end on July 26. Many of us have not even met our voters after we won the election. Any extension will jeopardize our plans.”

Opposition leaders also argued that the House has put in overtime on a number of days in the past few weeks to clear pending business. “Generally, bills are discussed and passed between 2 PM to 6 PM. When we work till 10 PM, it essentially means we are giving double the time for bills on a day,” said one such, who asked not to be identified.

The Congress’ floor leader Adhir Chowdhury has asked the government’s floor managers why they are in a tearing hurry to extend the session. “We have not gone back to our constituencies for the past few weeks. And I don’t understand the urgency.,” he said, adding that he has suggested that the government can wait for the next session, perhaps even call it in a month, or, if it is keen to get more work done, cancel lunch breaks.

 

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