The winter session of Parliament beginning on Wednesday is likely to see a united opposition confront the Narendra Modi government over the problems faced by people following the move to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes, with issues concerning farmers and one rank one pension (OROP) also likely to be taken up.
The government is likely to push its legislative agenda, that includes passage of pending legislations for rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the surrogacy regulation bill.
Opposition parties including Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party, Trinamool Congress, Aam Aadmi Party and Samajwadi Party have been vociferous in attacking the government over its move to demonetise currency and the trouble being faced by people on account of the move across the country. Demonetisation has led to fall in business due to difficulty in getting currency notes.
Trinamool Congress and AAP have demanded rollback of demonetisation, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a televised address to the nation on November 8.
Opposition parties are likely to target the Prime Minister for the decision that is being talked about across households and widely commented upon in the social media.
The Congress and Trinamool Congress have given notices for suspension of business in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on the opening day of the winter session to discuss demonetisation. The session is slated to conclude on December 16.
Congress spokesperson Ajoy Kumar said the party will raise the issue of demonetisation and repeated ceasefire violations on the India-Pakistan border that has led to loss of lives.
“We will raise government’s failures on all fronts, including black money and issues concerning farmers. There have been about 300 ceasefire violations in Jammu and Kashmir in the last one-and-a-half months which has resulted in soldiers being martyred and civilian deaths,” Kumar said.
Janata Dal-United leader K.C. Tyagi said that demonetisation will be a top issue for the party.
“Apart from demonetisation, we will take up issues concerning farmers, the present situation in Kashmir, one rank one pension and government’s flip-flops on Pakistan,” Tyagi said.
He said the party will strive for cooperation among opposition parties.
Revolutionary Socialist Party leader NK Premachandran said that demonetisation was a major issue for Left parties.
He said there was apprehension that information about demonetisation was “leaked very secretly.”
“Also there were no precautionary measures and people are being put to great difficulty,” he said.
“Other issues we will be raising include alleged politicisation of Army’s surgical strikes and communalisation of the entire system. On Goods and Services Tax concerns of states are not being taken into account,” he said.
The government is keen on passage of pending GST bills and its roll out from April 1 next year.
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan held a meeting of leaders of parties in the house on Monday to ensure smooth functioning of the house.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar has convened an all-party meeting on Tuesday.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told IANS that the government is prepared to discuss all issues raised by the opposition with permission of the chair. He hoped the session, which will have 22 sittings, will be fruitful.
According to PRS legislative, which tracks work of Parliament, the legislative agenda for the session includes 10 bills for consideration and passing.
Nine new bills are slated to be introduced and later taken up for passage.
The pending bills for roll out of GST include Central Goods and Services Tax Bill to facilitate levy of tax on intra-state supply of goods or services, Integrated Goods and Services Tax Bill to facilitate levy of tax on inter-state supply of goods or services and The Goods and Services Tax (Compensation for Loss of Revenue) Bill to facilitate payment of compensation to states for loss of revenue arising on account of implementation of GST.
The bills listed for consideration and passage include Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and The Whistle Blowers Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2015.
The bills to be introduced for passage include Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 and Divorce (Amendment) Bill, 2016.