Around three weeks ago, it seemed that the government was mulling over cutting short the budget session for lack of business. Now, it is toying with the idea of extending the session if bills prioritised by it are not passed in the next three days.
A final decision on whether to extend the 28 sittings session will be taken at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs (CCPA) on Wednesday, government sources said. The session, which began on July 7, might be extended by two-three days from August 19, as August 18 is a holiday for Janmashtami, they said. If the session is extended, five more bills will likely be taken up, according to sources.
The government is keen on ensuring passage of the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, which was taken up in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday. The government has the numbers in the Lok Sabha, but in the Rajya Sabha, the government is dependent on the Opposition for legislative business.
The other bills that the government wants passed are the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, Constitution (121st Amendment) bill and three labour related bills — Apprentices (Amendment) bill, Repealing and Amending Bill and Factories (Amendment) Bill. The insurance bill, to raise FDI cap to 49 per cent, is being referred to the Select Committee.
Earlier on Tuesday, parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu said at a meeting of the BJP parliamentary party that the government was committed to passing the crucial bills and would extend the session if Congress obstructs the passage of bills. He asked the MPs to be present in the House when the crucial bills are taken up.
The UPA government was castigated for its low legislative turnout. The ongoing budget session was being seen as the first test for the Modi government's parliamentary efficiency. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was averse to the idea of cutting short the session, which pushed various ministries to get some bills ready.