Both the houses will also debate on the motion of thanks to the President’s address after the budget presentation. The session will be held in two parts—January 29 to February 15 and March 8 to April 8. The session will have a total of 33 sittings.
It is after almost six months that the Parliament will be convened, as the winter session could not be held due to the Covid pandemic.
President addresses the parliament
President Ram Nath Kovind addressed the parliament on Friday opening the budget session in a long-standing tradition that has existed since the first amendment to the constitution in 1951.
The President underlined the relevance of the joint session of Parliament amid Corona pandemic. “It is a new year and a new decade and we are also entering into the 75th year of Independence. Today all MPs are present here with a message and trust that however tough be the challenge neither we nor India will stop,” he said.
President Ram Nath Kovind addresses the parliament ahead of budget session.
The presidential address is one of the most solemn occasions in the parliamentary calendar and is the only occasion in the year when the entire parliament, i.e. the President, Lok Sabha, and Rajya Sabha come together.
This decade is important for India’s future: PM Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi briefly addressed the media outside the parliament ahead of the budget session. He said, “Today commences the first Session of this decade. This decade is very important for the bright future of India.”
The PM said that this is a golden opportunity that has come before the nation to fulfil the dreams seen by the freedom fighters.
This is the budget session. For the first time in India’s history, in a way, the finance minister had to present 4-5 mini budgets in 2020 in the form of different packages. So this budget will be seen as a part of those 4-5 mini budgets, I believe this, said the PM.
This decade should be fully utilised. Keeping this in mind, there should be discussions in this session focussing on the decade – this is expected by the nation. I believe that we will not lag behind in making our contribution to the fulfilment of people’s aspiration, said Modi.
Congress MPs raise slogans during presidential address
Member of Parliament Ravneet Singh Bittu raised slogans during President’s address demanding a repeal of three farm laws.
Economic survey to be tabled
Following the presidential address, the government presents the economic survey for the year in the House.
The survey is a detailed report on the performance or state of the economy during the year gone. The survey acts as a prequel to the Union Budget by detailing the country’s performance and forecasts economic growth for next year.
First presented in 1950-51, the flagship document not only puts in perspective the country’s economic condition but also analyses trends in money supply, agricultural and industrial production, infrastructure, import, exports etc.
The budget session comes at the heels of 72nd Republic Day which witnessed violence during the tractor rally of farmers. (Credit: PTI)
Opposition boycotts President’s address over farm laws
The crucial budget session is set for a stormy start with as many as 18 opposition parties announcing their decision to boycott the President’s address in solidarity with the farmers agitating against the three contentious farm laws.
The session is also likely to witness acrimonious scenes, with the opposition all set to corner the government on issues like recession, job losses, handling of Covid crisis, LAC stand-off with China and the WhatsApp chat leaks of Arnab Goswami.
Leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, and opposition leaders boycott Presidential address protesting against farm laws.
A total of 19 opposition parties have announced to boycott the President’s address. There are over 20 opposition parties in Parliament.
The parties boycotting the address are the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, National Conference, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Trinamool Congress, Shiv Sena, Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Communist Party of India (Marxist), CPI, Indian Union Muslim League, RSP, Peoples Democratic Party, MDMK, Kerala Congress (M) and the All India United Democratic Front.
Bahujan Samaj Party, Shiromani Akali Dal and Aam Aadmi Party also separately announced their decision of boycotting the address.
Speaker calls for an all-party meet
To seek the cooperation of various parties for the smooth functioning of the budget session, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla has convened a meeting of all political parties on Friday which is expected to be attended by PM Modi.
With the session starting barely days after the national capital witnessed unprecedented violence on Republic Day during the farmers’ tractor parade, the issue is expected to echo in Parliament.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla urged opposition’s cooperation and convened a meeting of all political parties ahead of Budget Session.
Joshi has appealed to all the parties to reconsider their decision to boycott, saying the President is above party politics.
He also claimed that the BJP has never boycotted the President’s address when it was in the opposition, and said the issues raised by the opposition parties can be raised during the debate on the motion of thanks.
Sixteen opposition parties release a joint statement in Rajya Sabha
“The Prime Minister and the BJP government remain arrogant, adamant and undemocratic in their response. Shocked by this insensitivity of the government, the opposition political parties, reaffirming the collective demand for the repeal of the anti-farmer laws and in solidarity with the Indian farmers, have decided to boycott the President’s address…..,” a joint statement issued by 16 parties said on Thursday.
The statement was released by Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad.
Azad alleged that the opposition is against the manner in which the three bills were passed in Parliament after rules and regulations were “thrown in the dustbin”.
The parties have alleged that the farm bills were brought without any consultations with states and farmer unions, and lacked national consensus.
With a view to have a paperless budget, all the documents and the economic survey would be made available online soon after the authenticated copies are laid on the table of the House, the Lok Sabha Secretariat has said.
Covid protocols in place
This session will be held as per Covid-19 protocols, with Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha meeting in shifts of five hours each — with the upper house meeting from 9 AM to 2 PM and the lower house in the evening from 3 PM to 8 PM.
This is also the first time when the members of both the Houses will be seated in three different locations – chambers of both houses and the Central Hall.
Question hour is back
The question hour, which could not take place during the monsoon session, has also made a comeback in this session. The monsoon session also saw the two Houses working on Saturdays and Sundays. But this time, Parliament will not sit on weekends.
Private members’ business to be part of budget session
Private members’ business, which usually takes place on Friday afternoons, will also be part of the budget session, according to the Lok Sabha secretariat. In the previous session, the private members’ business was not taken up.
Government to push for ordinances
During the session, the government will also push to convert ordinances issued recently into laws. An ordinance has to be converted into law within 42 days of the beginning of the session, else it lapses.
The ordinances issued recently include The Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Ordinance 2020, The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 and The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021.
(With inputs from PTI)
Watch “Coming decade is vital for India’s progress”: PM Modi