Monday was the first day of the Budget session of the new Narendra Modi’s Government. We have seen that nothing has changed, except the seating arrangement – the BJP is seated towards the right of the Speaker, the Congress to the Left side of the Sumitra Mahajan. Slogan-shouting started as the parliament began. Lok Sabha has seen multiple adjournments. Opposition parties stormed the Well of the House protesting against inflation and rail fare hike, leading to adjournment of the House for 40 minutes. This thing has happened earlier also but parties have changed. It was BJP’s job in previous government to frequently adjourn houses by creating chaos with unreasonable arguments and demands. I think, children who watch proceedings on Doordarshan will understand that Opposition means adjournments. Anyways, the Budget Session of the Lok Sabha started on a uncontrolled note with members belonging to numerous Opposition parties attacking the Health of the House moaning against inflation and hike in rail fares and prices of petrol, diesel and LPG. Anxiety began as soon as the Question Hour arose, with members of the Congress, Trinamool Congress, RJD, SP, Aam Aadmi Party and the Left trooping into the Well raising the issue of prices and rail fare hike. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan’s frequent request to allow the questions to be taken up went overlooked, leading to adjournment of the House for nearly 40 minutes.
A kilometer away from Parliament at Jantar Mantar, the Congress protested over what it called a rise in prices since the Narendra Modi government took over. Senior MP Kamal Nath told media that Modi government talked about Achhe Din (good days).” “Narendra Modi promised much and has delivered little,” even said Mulayam Singh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party. In defense, Parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu gave explanation saying, it’s unfair to hold one month old government responsible for price rise. The BJP alleges that the current economic problems are of the previous Congress-led UPA government’s making. The Narendra Modi government has a brute majority in the Lok Sabha, but is at a disadvantage in numbers in the Rajya Sabha and can ill-afford to have the Opposition unite on key issues. Bills have to be passed by both Houses to become law.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in the House during the entire period of turmoil along with his senior party and Ministerial colleagues L K Advani, Rajnath Singh and Sushma Swaraj. Congress President Sonia Gandhi was also seated in the front row of the Opposition benches. Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) members were also in the Well opposing the ordinance on the Polavaram project. Slogans like “achha din ayega, mahangai badhayega (good days will come, prices will rise)” and ‘roll back rail fare hike’ were heard. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was seen standing in the aisle, while his party colleagues Jyotiraditya Scindia, Deepinder Singh Hooda, K C Venugopal and several others were in the Well. RJD’s Pappu Yadav was vociferous in his protest as was TMC’s Kalyan Banerjee and most of his party colleagues. Bhagwant Singh Mann of AAP was also in the Well and was heard raising the plight of Indians left behind in trouble—torn Iraq. NCP’s Supriya Sule, who was asked to raise a question on unemployment, shouted that the government’s reply was “unsatisfactory and bureaucratic. This budget session was quite interesting because both the sides had well studied and researched on question answers. It was also very interesting to see the attitude of Congress members, including of Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi in the Lok Sabha, they are miserably lost, but gracefully accepted the defeat and played very vital role of an opposition.
Either BJP or Congress and other parties have to stop hubbub in the Parliament. Points to be debated- agreed or rejected – give it for voting and move to the next point. The two national parties have to establish decorum and set an example to other parties. Whether the Indian constitution is a bag of borrowing from UK or not, it has a reflection of the constitution of UK and let us try to conduct the business in a better way like the parliament in UK or Congress in USA.
Probably BJP must have realised, when they were in opposition, they were much better than they are in ruling party with majority. BJP has miserably flopped, because they have shown big dreams to common man. They assured that they will change everything as soon as they come to power. As we all know, people have no patience to wait and are going through uncomfortable life. They all voted for BJP and especially Modi, getting hypnotised with the slogan “Aache Din”.
Meanwhile, the new poverty lines says, anyone who spends more than Rs. 32 a day in villages and more than Rs. 47 in cities is not poor, an expert panel has recommended to the government, igniting a major controversy as Parliament meets for the budget session. Congress defined poverty line as Rs. 33 per day. Modi government has revised it to Rs. 47. So, we should have blamed the Congress instead of voting for it for 60 years. Poverty line is not to define the poor but the extremely poor that will die of starvation unless they are given food.
Therefore, most nations of the world define poverty line in terms of food. Anybody who has work and needs transportation money to go for work is not extremely poor. United Nations’ Poverty line is 1$ per day, i.e. Rs. 60. Congress wanted to reduce the poverty line. The new poverty benchmarks have been calculated by a panel of experts headed by former Reserve Bank of India Governor and top economist C Rangarajan. His report has also found that one in every three Indian is poor. It states that in 2011-12, nearly 363 million people are below the poverty line – which is 100 million more than earlier thought. The previous government headed by Manmohan Singh was excoriated by the opposition and activists after the Planning Commission told the Supreme Court in 2011 that those with a daily income of Rs. 27 in villages and Rs. 33 in cities should be ineligible for subsidised food and other supplies.
Anyways this is how it was the beginning of Modi Sarkar’s Budget session. Let’s hope, it gets concluded on the note of “Aache Din”.