New Delhi:Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday assured the Opposition that his government would be presenting an interim budget and not a full one on Friday, as the Budget session of Parliament, the last of this government’s tenure, got under way.

Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, said Mr. Modi told an all-party meeting that his government was not departing from convention.

“Prime Minister Modi told us that the government will present an interim budget,” he said, adding that the Opposition had also demanded that the government take up “only those Bills which are not controversial…on which there is total unanimity.”

Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien said, “The government will be responsible for disruptions if they list contentious Bills.”

The government has once again listed the controversial Triple Talaq and the Citizenship Bills. “Why has the government listed 48 Bills in 240 minutes? This leaves only five minutes per Bill,” Mr. O’Brien added.

The Opposition parties complained that limited time is available for discussions on subjects such as unemployment and farmers’ distress after the Budget debate. There are 10 sittings of Parliament spread over 14 days of the session.

There is a widespread consensus that the government should bring in the Women’s Reservation Bill that the Rajya Sabha has already cleared. The Bill does not figure in the 48 pieces of legislation listed.

Among the 48, three Bills are to replace ordinances. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Ordinance, 2019 or the Triple Talaq Bill, the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019, and The Companies (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019 are required to be passed during the Interim Budget Session itself. The Triple Talaq Bill is pending in the Rajya Sabha, where the numbers are stacked against the government.

The other pending legislations include the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2018, the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018, the Aadhar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019, the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2018, the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre Bill, 2019 and the Consumer Protection Bill. The government has also listed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 which is also pending in the Rajya Sabha.

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