Modi government goes full steam, mulls second extension of record Budget Session in Parliament

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Published: August 1, 2019 1:21:45 PM

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has indicated that the Modi government may extend the Parliament session further by two days if the pending bills are not passed.

Parliament session extendedModi government may extend Parliament session by two more days.

Parliament session extended: Setting a record for the highest number of bills introduced and passed in Parliament in the Budget Session, the Narendra Modi-led government is now mulling over a second extension to the current session of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. According to reports, the government may further extend the date for the Parliament to be adjourned sine die by a couple of days or more. A number of bills are on the agenda of the Modi government that will be tabled in the Parliament for consideration and passage during the extended period of the Parliament. The current session of Parliament has already seen the passage of key legislation including the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019, and The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in the Rajya Sabha where the National Democratic Alliance lacks majority.

As per data cited by India Today TV, the Modi government had pushed a record 30 bills in the Lok Sabha, of which 20 have already been cleared. Both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha passed a total of 14 bills as of July 29, the highest during the first session after elections. As per data compiled by PRS Legislative, the first session had no legislative business from the 14th Lok Sabha in 2004 to the 16th Lok Sabha in 2014.

In the first tenure of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance, only six bills could be cleared in the Budget session between July 5 and August 26 in 2004. The figure stood at eight during the Budget Session of 15th Lok Sabha between July 2 and August 7. A total of 12 bills were passed in the Budget session of the 16th Lok Sabha which continued from July 7 to August 14.

Among bills that have already been tabled and obtained Parliament’s nod post-July 26, the day Monsoon Session was slated to culminate, include the RTI (Amendment) Bill, 2019; Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019; Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019. The Parliament has also cleared the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2019; the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2019; and Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2019.

The other bills that the government intends to get passed during the extended tenure include the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019 also called anti-terrorism bill; the DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill; the Consumer Protection Bill, 2019; the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Amendment Bill, 2019; the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill, 2019; Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019; the Code on Wages Bill, 2019; and the National Institute of Design Bill, 2019.

The current among the bills listed for discussion in Parliament today include the National Medical Council Bill and UAPA Bill in the Rajya Sabha and the POCSO Amendment Bill, the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Amendment Bill and the Arbitration & Conciliation Amendment Bill in Lok Sabha.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has indicated that the government may extend the Parliament session further by two days if the pending bills are not passed. In the BJP’s parliamentary party meeting on Tuesday, Parliamentary Affairs minister Pralhad Joshi told MPs to be present in the both the Houses to help the government pass the pending bills, a report in Hindustan Times said.

The current session of the Parliament began on June 17 and was slated to end on July 26. But the Modi government extended it to August 7 to clear the pending bills. The government wants to ensure the passage of key bills listed in the current session itself and is now mulling to extend the sittings for a few more days, Hindustan Times reports. The opposition parties including the Congress and Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress had opposed the government’s previous decision to extend the sittings.

Quoting two-person privy to the information, the report said that Joshi told MPs if there is any business left for post-August 7, a second extension will be required. “Joshi told BJP MPs that they need to be present in the House and clear pending bills. He said the House could be extended for two days if any business is left on August 7,” one of the two persons told the daily. Another person said that the government has, however, not taken a call yet, but it is keeping options open.

If the government moves a proposal to extend the session for the second time, it likely to evoke strong disapproval from the opposition. The opposition parties have already charged the government of tabling the bills including the triple talaq bill, without informed them in advance to prevent them from preparing for it. They have also charged the government of rushing through bills, with TMC MP Derek O’Brien going to the extent of likening the Parliament to a factory.

Meanwhile, the Congress party has issued a three-line whip to its Rajya Sabha MPs, asking them to be present in the House till the adjournment of the House on August 7. This comes a day after Congress’ Rajya Sabha MP Ghulam Nabi Azad accused the government of listing the triple talaq bill for Tuesday at the eleventh hour. He said that the opposition parties’ couldn’t issue whips to their MPs while the BJP and its allies were informed about the same well in advance.

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