India’s Budget session 2022-2023 set to be stormy affair

The opposition parties are all prepared to take the government to task over farmers’ demand for a law, the alleged use of Pegasus spyware among other things.


(Representational Image; Source: iStock)

January 31, 2022

NEW DELHI – The Budget session of Parliament, which will begin on Monday with President Ram Nath Kovind’s address to a joint session of both Houses of Parliament, is likely to be a stormy one with the opposition parties seems all prepared to take the government to task over farmers’ demand for a law on MSP, the alleged use of Pegasus spyware among other things.

The Budget 2022-23 session is also taking place just ahead of the crucial Uttar Pradesh assembly elections in February and amid adherence to strict Covid-19 safety protocols further necessitated by detection of about 875 covid positive cases at the Parliament complex on 23 January.

Giving details of the schedule of the session, a Rajya Sabha secretariat note here stated that the Budget session would be held in two phases. The first phase of the budget session will begin on 31 January and conclude on 11 February. The second part of the session will begin on 14 March and conclude on 8 April.

Soon after the President addresses the session of Parliament, the Economic Survey for the year 2021-22 will be tabled in Lok Sabha. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the Budget for the year 2022-23 on 1 February at 11 am. The minister will brief the Union Cabinet about the budget through a summary before the presentation of the Budget.

The government will have a total of 79 hours’ window this time for legislative business and discussion on issues of immediate public concern. Both the houses of Parliament will sit one hour less in the total 27 scheduled sittings due to staggered sitting.

In the first phase of the Budget session, the main agenda will be a discussion on the motion of thanks to the President and the general budget. The Budget session of Parliament beginning on Monday will have a 79 and a half hours’ window for the government’s legislative agenda and for taking up issues of immediate public concern over the 29 scheduled sittings of both Houses of Parliament.

On the first day tomorrow, the President of India will address the Members of both the Houses after which copies of his address will be laid on the tables of both the Houses. For this purpose, Rajya Sabha will meet at 2.30 pm on Monday. On the second day, the General Budget for 2022-23 will be presented in the Lok Sabha by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman and a copy of this will be laid on the table of Rajya Sabha thereafter.

The first part of the Budget session will have 10 sittings between January 31 and February 11 while 19 sittings are scheduled for the second part between March 14 and April 8, 2022, according to the Rajya Sabha secretariat.

A total of 135 hours of sitting time is available for Rajya Sabha for transacting various items of business during the 27 sittings scheduled during February 2- April 8, 2022, at the rate of 5 hours per day. Of this, the first part of the session with 40 hours accounts for about 30 percent of the total scheduled sitting time while the second part with 95 hours accounts for about 70 percent of the scheduled sitting time.

Rajya Sabha will have Zero Hour reduced by half to 30 minutes per day with a total time of 13 hours 30 minutes for raising issues of public importance besides laying of papers and reports during 27 sittings. The timeshare of Question Hour will be 27 hours. A total of 15 hours is scheduled for Private Members’ Business on six days during the session.

During the first week of the second part of the session, Private Members’ Bills will be taken up on Thursday as Friday is a holiday. This will leave the House with 79 hours 30 minutes for considering and passing bills to be proposed by the government besides discussing issues of immediate public concern under Calling Attention motion and Short Duration discussions.

Discussion on Motion of Thanks to the President for his Address to the Members of both the Houses and on General Budget: 2022-23 will constitute the major items of business of the House.

During the Budget session of 2021, discussion for 15 hours 37 minutes on Motion of Thanks to the President and of 10 hours 43 minutes on the Union Budget: 2021-22 in the Rajya Sabha accounted for over 52 per cent of the total time available during the first part of the session, the secretariat further informed.

The Budget session beginning Monday will be the sixth to be held since the outbreak of the covid pandemic in January 2020. The Budget session of 2020 was curtailed by 8 sittings on that count. The 252nd session, the first to be held under covid protocol with staggered sittings of both the Houses was curtailed by 8 sittings and the Budget session of 2021 (the 253rd session of Rajya Sabha) was shortened by 10 sittings for the same reason.

Rajya Sabha has clocked productivity of 47.90 per cent during the last 255th session and of only 29.60 per cent during the 254th session. The House, however, reported high productivity of 93.50 per cent during the last year’s Budget session that had 23 sittings.

Vice President of India and Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla meanwhile held a meeting at Upa-Rashtrapati Niwas, the house of the vice president of India.

Naidu and Birla discussed in detail the preparations for the upcoming Budget Session of Parliament. They expressed the hope that all political parties would engage in ‘constructive’ debates and contribute to a productive Budget session of Parliament.

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