New Delhi: The Centre is set to face tough times during the budget session of Parliament starting Monday even as it promised to walk the “extra mile” to accommodate the Opposition's concerns and Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed for cooperation for the benefit of common man.
Mr. Modi underlined at a meeting of all parties in New Delhi that smooth functioning of Parliament should be ensured as the budget session is very crucial and people look at it with lots of hopes and aspirations.
The leaders of all political parties should collectively ensure proper utilisation of time in both Houses of Parliament “so that we can work towards meeting the hopes and aspirations of people”, he said about the session during which his government will present its first full-fledged Budget.
“It is the collective responsibility of leaders of all parties to ensure that this session runs smoothly so that the House can fulfill aspiratations of people... Hope we can collectively work for the benefit of common man,” Mr. Modi said.
Referring to the various issues that the Opposition is waiting to raise, he told the leaders attending the meeting, “I can assure you that all the issues you have referred to will be discussed adequately and appropriately in order of their priority and importance.”
Earlier, the tone for the concilliatory approach was set when Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu, in an unusual gesture, drove to Congress president Sonia Gandhi's residence to meet her to seek cooperation of the largest opposition party in carrying out the legislative business.
However, the opposition parties appeared to be unimpressed and made clear their mood of taking on the government, particularly on the move to amend the Land Acquisition Act.
Mr. Naidu admitted that some opposition parties expressed reservations against the land ordinance move even as there was “broad consensus” on five other ordinances to be converted into laws.
While describing his meeting Ms. Gandhi as a “cordial” one, Mr. Naidu said she expressed concerns over land ordinance.
the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad also said that the Congress will not support those ordinances and bills, which “do not help people“.
JD(U) president Sharad Yadav said it will be a “fight to the finish” as he lashed out at the government, saying it had made the land law worse than what existed during the British time.
INLD leader Dushyant Chautala demanded that the proposed bill to convert the land ordinance into a new law should be referred to the Standing Committee of Parliament for a review of the changes brought in the old law by the government.
Mr. Naidu acknowledged that land acquisition is an “emotive issue” and needs to be addressed “sincerely without undue politicisation“.
The Parliamentary Affairs Minister said the government is always willing to sit with opposition to resolve differences on any issue. “A spirit of mutual cooperation is required to ensure productive budget session,” he said.
“I don't think there is any issue that cannot be resolved with an open mind,” he said.
On the land issue, he said State governments, cutting across political spectrum, have expressed difficulties in acquiring land under the provisions of the law of 2013.
“Based on such feedback, the government only wants to facilitate timely acquisition of land and that too for the purposes of infrastructure, affordable housing etc,” Mr. Naidu said while justifying the ordinance brought on the issue to amend the law passed during the UPA rule.
“All of you will appreciate that there has been no change in the remuneration to be paid to farmers or the rehabilitation measures to be undertaken for the displaced people,” he said.
He said opposition parties have the “legitimate right” to raise their concerns in the matter and the government has the responsibility of addressing their concerns.
“Parliament is the right forum to address such differences between the opposition and the government and to find a way forward... Let us understand each other so that the broader objective of infrastructure and economic development of the country is ensured while protecting the interests of the farmers,” said Mr. Naidu, who also holds the portfolio of Urban Development.