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Manohar Parrikar to present Goa budget on January 30

By Smriti Pathak

Panaji, Jan 22: Ailing Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar would be presenting the annual budget for the financial year 2019-20 in the state assembly on January 30, it was announced here Monday.

Manohar Parrikar

The Business Advisory Committee (BAC) of the assembly, which met here under the chairmanship of Speaker Pramod Sawant, approved the agenda for the three-day-long assembly session starting from January 29.

Parrikar, who also holds the finance portfolio, was present at the meeting which was attended by representatives of all political parties.

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"Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar would be presenting the budget on January 30," Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo told reporters after attending the BAC meeting.

As per the business approved by the BAC, the first day of the session (January 29) will have Governor Mridula Sinha's address.

"On January 30, there will be presentation, discussion and voting on Supplementary Demands for Grants (second batch) 2018-19 and also presentation of Annual Financial Statement for the year 2019-20," according to the agenda of the assembly approved by the BAC.

"On January 31, government bills will be introduced, considered and passed," it said.

The same day, there will be presentation and voting on "Vote on Account" along with introduction, consideration and passing of the connected Goa Appropriation Bill, 2019.

Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar of the Congress, who attended the meeting, demanded a longer assembly session.

"We (Congress) had demanded that the session be at least of ten days. Last year, only 16 days of sessions were held all together. This time, out of three days, the first day would be Governor's address, Kavlekar said.

Goa Forward Party Leader and Agriculture Minister Vijai Sardesai said a full-fledged budget would not be tabled as it requires more time.

Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo said the duration of the session should have been more, but since the CM is down with ill-health, it has been curtailed.

"I think the July assembly session (monsoon) should be of minimum 21 working days," he added.

Lobo said there are so many things to be discussed on the floor of the House, where numerous bills and amendments also have to be tabled.

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"When there is such a short session, there is no quality of debate. Quality of debate goes down as every member wants to talk but he is given only 4 to 5 minutes to talk," he said.

"That much time is not sufficient. We discussed this today when the Leader of Opposition brought it to the notice of the CM that session is short," he said, referring to the BAC meeting.

"The CM also said we will have a longer session. When he was the Leader of Opposition, he used to talk about lengthy sessions, healthy debates and other things," Lobo added.

The 63-year-old BJP leader is undergoing treatment for a pancreatic ailment for the last 11 months and opposition parties have regularly raised the issue of his health.

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