Budget Session: Know what would be focus areas of Modi govt

The second half of the Budget Session of the Parliament, which is expected to be an extremely volatile and charged period, begins on Monday.

This session will be packed with some of the most controversial bills that will be tabled in the Parliament-the land acquisition bill, the black money bill and the scheduled caste/tribe bill among others.

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During this, the Modi Government will be looking forward to pass crucial land bill which could not get converted into a legislation in the first half of the budget session due to stiff opposition in Rajya Sabha.

Also read: [PM Narendra Modi looks forward to a productive session of Parliament]

Meanwhile, diffusing all fears of a charged up and mostly destructive Parliament session, PM Modi on Sunday voiced hope that it would be full of "outcomes", noting that the productivity of Parliament has "reached 125 per cent" since his government came to power.

While the Lok Sabha begins on Monday, the Rajya Sabha will meet on April 23.

The Lok Sabha session is expected to conclude on May 8. The Rajya Sabha will meet till May 13.Both the houses will have 13 sittings each.

Following are some of the points on which Modi govt would focus during the Budget session:

Opposition all set to corner Modi Govt 

Land Bill:
The controversial land bill issue is expected to generate much heat in Lok Sabha as government is planning to table the new land ordinance on the very first day of the second half of Budget session.

The land bill seeks to convert an ordinance that amended the 2013 version of the bill passed by the UPA government. The ordnance was re-promulgated last month. This was because the bill was passed in the Lok Sabha in February but was not brought to the upper house as the government failed to convince the opposition parties, who have opposed it tooth and nail.

While the NDA has a brute majority of 335 in the Lok Sabha, it is numerically much weaker in the Rajya Sabha with just 63 seats.The Janata Parivar has 15 members in the Lok Sabha and the Congress 44. In the upper house, the Congress has 70 members.

While government sources hinted that a joint session might be called to get the bill passed, officially the NDA maintained that there would be no need for this.

Besides the land bill, the Modi government is scheduled to take up other important bills like the Financial Bill 2015, Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, the Goods and Services Tax Bill and the Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets (Imposition of Tax) Bill, also called the anti-black money bill.

Financial Bill 2015
Another important task for the Modi Government in the next 18 days will be passage of the Finance Bill, 2015. The Bill, tabled on February 28, has key tax provisions, such as changes in the Income-Tax Act for more benefits and increase in the service tax rate to 14 per cent from 12.36 per cent, among others.

The Bill will not face any problem in the Rajya Sabha despite the Government being in a minority. Since it is a money Bill, the Rajya Sabha can debate, but cannot make any amendment or vote on it.

If the Rajya Sabha fails to return the money Bill within a specified period to the Lok Sabha, the Bill will be considered as passed, after which it will become Act with assent from the President.

GST Bill
Government is hopeful that the much-delayed Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill will be passed during the ongoing Budget Session.

Since the government is in a complete majority in the Lower House, it will have no problem in getting the Bill passed. Though the government is in a minority in the Rajya Sabha, this Bill is unlikely to face any resistance as the principal Opposition party, the Congress, is backing it.

Anti-black money bill:
The Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets (Imposition of New Tax) Bill, 2015, proposes a short window to overseas income tax assessees to declare their assets, pay tax and a penalty and thus avoid imprisonment.

The Bill provides for a maximum of 10 years rigorous imprisonment for offenders who conceal income and assets and indulge in tax evasion in relation to foreign assets.

The proposal to come out with a new law on the black money was announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget speech. The issue of black money, especially alleged stashing of illicit wealth abroad in places like Switzerland, has been a matter of huge political debate for a long time.

The government has also been under pressure to act on the issue of black money, as BJP had mounted a huge campaign during the Lok Sabha polls last year with an assurance to check this menace.

Church attack issue
While the Opposition will try to corner the Modi Government over the rising number of attacks on churches and Christian missionaries, the Modi Govt will try to defend itself on this issue.

The government which time and again said that it follows a "zero tolerance" policy against those disturbing communal harmony in the country, will try to downplay the allegations levelled by the opposition.

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