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Winter Session: Govt to hold strategy meeting on Thursday


New Delhi: The government has convened a meeting on Thursday to chalk out strategy for pushing its legislative business in the Monsoon Session beginning next week, with opposition parties closing ranks against it on various issues like the Vyapam scam, Lalit Modi controversy and the Socio Economic and Caste Census.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu will hold the meeting with Union ministers and secretaries on July 16 in Parliament House to give a final shape to the government’s legislative agenda, as well as work out strategy.

The government has identified 35 legislative and financial items of its business to be taken up during the three-week long Monsoon Session beginning July 21.

In a meeting of secretaries of the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry and Legislative Department of the Law Ministry on July 9, the government listed nine bills pending in Rajya Sabha and four pending in Lok Sabha that will be taken up in this session, besides introduction of 11 new bills.

The four bills pending in Lok Sabha include the contentious land bill but sources say it is unlikely to be taken up during this session as the Joint Committee of Parliament scrutinising the bill is unlikely to complete its proceedings on time.

The three other bills pending in the Lower House are the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2014, Delhi High Court (Amendment) Bill, 2015 and The Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2014.

Crucial among the nine bills pending in Rajya Sabha are the Constitution (one hundred and twenty second) Amendment Bill, 2014-relating to GST, which is currently with a Select Committee of Rajya Sabha, the Whistle Blower Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2015, the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013 and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2015.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Naidu will also be meeting with leaders of all parties in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on Monday hours before Lok Sabha Speaker Sumita Mahajan holds an all-party meeting during which the government will express its readiness to discuss any matter raised by the Opposition.

The two meetings will take place a day before the session begins on July 21. With Prime Minister Narendra Modi back after his eight-day tour of five Central Asian countries and Russia, Naidu is also likely to have a meeting with him in a day or two to fine tune the floor strategy.

Opposition parties have been closing ranks against the government on several issues including the Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh and the Lalit Modi controversy involving Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. The Opposition has been demanding resignation of Raje, Swaraj and MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

The government is also likely to come under attack over the Socio Economic and Caste Census data, projecting a very grim picture of the rural India.

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