Thursday, March 3, 2011


3 March 2011


From R Rajagopalan

NEW DELHI: Parliament's budget session is being shortened to shut on March 25 after passing the next year's financial business and that too without any indepth scrutiny, thanks to the Assembly elections in five states in April and May.

The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs (CCPA) is expected to take a final decision Friday morning in this respect and make the recommendation as Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal spoke of a consensus among parties to cut short the session.

As a result, there will be no department-wise scrutiny of the demands by the standing committees as the recess for the purpose that was to begin on March 16 goes and instead both the Houses will sit for another seven days to finish of the passage of the railway and union budgets.

There will be no second half of the session fixed from April 4 to 21, but the CCPA will explore if a brief session of two to three weeks can be convened after the election results are out on May 13 to handle a very long list of the government-sponsored Bills that have piled up since the winter session remain blocked. Also being planned is a longish monsoon session in July-August.

Meanwhile, debate on the Railway Budget that was to begin in the Lok Sabha on Thursday remained blocked because of the noisy agitation for Separate Telangana that forced adjournment of the House six times before the chair adjourning for the day at 3.15 pm. The Rajya Sabha was also rocked with the Telangana demand that forced two adjournments and thus a washout of the question hour, but it could start the railway debate in the afternoon.

On a day when the Andhra Pradesh Assembly was shut and a state minister reportedly sent in resignation to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Telengana Rashtra Samiti chief K Chandrasekhar Rao and his colleague Ms M Vijaya Shanthi jumped into the Lok Sabha well as soon as it assembled and got impromptu support with slogans from the BJP members while the Congress MPs from the Telangana region also joined the chorus by rushing to the aisles but not entering the well. The TDP members waved placards from their seats wanting "United Andhra Pradesh."

There were repeated disruptions and adjournments and finally Speaker Meira Kumar gave in after trying to start the railway budget debate. The House was finally adjourned for the day by presiding Francisco Sardinha, who found the two TRS members refusing to go back to their seats and the Congress and the BJP members raising slogans in support of a separate state of Telangana.

The government is concerned if it will be able to push through a proper discussion on the general budget and the railway budget that may have to be passed with just a minimum of discussion, the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry sources said.


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