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Monsoon musings at Parliament

Monsoon musings at Parliament
Highlights

This monsoon session of Parliament has begun amid high hopes for the ruling NDA coalition that it would be in a position to secure the passage of key pending bills in the 20 sittings till August 12. The agenda for legislation includes nine bills for consideration and passing and at least six bills are listed for introduction, consideration and passing. 

This monsoon session of Parliament has begun amid high hopes for the ruling NDA coalition that it would be in a position to secure the passage of key pending bills in the 20 sittings till August 12. The agenda for legislation includes nine bills for consideration and passing and at least six bills are listed for introduction, consideration and passing.

Among these the Constitution (122nd Amendment) (GST) Bill, 2014 facing the Rajya Sabha hurdle is of paramount importance to the Centre's scheme of things. Going by the claim of Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley only Tamil Nadu has some reservations.

The Government is very keen not to ruffle the feathers of the Opposition though its tally in the Rajya Sabha had gone up by five seats after the recent biennial elections to the Upper House. The latest tally of the NDA is 72 while the UPA has 66, down by three from the previous House.

That is why the BJP needs the support of the parties like the United Janata Dal (13 in all), SP (19), TMC (12), AIDMK (13) and BJD (8) to muster the target of 163. The government has already missed the target of implementing the GST regime from April 1, this year in the wake of stiff opposition to the tax reform measure by Congress and some other parties.

With the bitter political rivalry between the ruling coalition and the Opposition having subdued a bit after the recent Assembly elections, there is a new confidence among the ruling coalition that its efforts to strengthen the GDP by at least 1 percent to 2 percent - with the passage of the GST Bill - would become a reality.
One could say that the BJP too has adopted a non-confrontational approach in not raking up any controversial issues ahead of the monsoon session.

Also, it has identified the nuisance potential of some of its members and dealt with it firmly. First of all, the gagging of Dr Subramanian Swamy has had a salutary effect on the Opposition. If the Budget session of Parliament saw bitter opposition to the GST Bill, it was more because of the strident position of Swamy against the Congress high command and the litigation he began pursuing against it.

It also kept less and less of Robert Vadra nowadays. Naturally, the Congress must be happy. Then again, with Smriti Irani sidelined and dropped out of the Cabinet Committees too, the Narendra Modi-led Government had sent a strong message to the Opposition to keep trivialities aside and get plunged into some serious business.

It is not that the Opposition does not have any stick to beat the Treasury benches this time around. Arunachal and Kashmir developments could rock Parliament just as the NSG membership issue which India failed to secure contrary to the claims of Narendra Modi.

The most contentious issue could turn out to be the one of Uniform Civil Code with the Government's decision to seek a report from the Law Commission on the proposal to introduce the same. However, all these could see a diminished capacity to get the House stalled for long.

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