Despite protests, Budget session to begin Jan 31

Press Trust of India

New Delhi: The Budget session of Parliament was Saturday convened to start January 31, a day before the Union Budget is likely to be presented.
President Pranab Mukherjee has summoned the Rajya Sabha to meet January 31, an official notification said.

A similar notification is also expected from the Lok Sabha Secretariat.
While the session will begin with the President’s address to the joint sitting of the two Houses, the same day the pre-budget economic survey will be tabled.
The practice of separate railway budget presentation is being scrapped from this year. The railway estimates will be part of the Union budget.

The development comes even as Opposition parties have raised objections to the presentation of the budget February 1 before Assembly polls in five states on the ground that it will tilt the balance in government’s favour because it can woo voters with sops.
The Opposition parties have petitioned the Election Commission, which has asked Cabinet secretary PK Sinha to give the government’s response.

They appealed to the Election Commission to have the session postponed, arguing that having the Budget presented before elections could tip the scales unfairly in favour of the BJP

The Cabinet committee on Parliamentary Affairs had recently recommended that the Budget session will commence January 31 and the Union Budget will be presented the next day so that the new financial provisions come into force from April 1, the beginning of the new fiscal.

Elections in five states — Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa — will begin February 4 and will go on until March 8. 

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