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Opposition to raise price rise, government ready to discuss all issues
Saturday July 5, 2014 11:10 PM, IANS

Opposition parties would seek to pin down the NDA government on the issue of price rise during the budget session of parliament beginning Monday as the ruling coalition said that it was prepared to discuss all issues.

At a meeting of leaders of parties in the Lok Sabha Saturday called by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan ahead of the budget session, opposition parties however assured their cooperation in the smooth running of the house.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu told media persons that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will make a statement on the situation of Indians in Iraq in the two houses of parliament.

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government will bring bills to replace ordinances concerning the Polavaram project and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (amendment) ordinance which paved the way for appointment of Nripendra Misra as principal secretary to the prime minister.

Naidu said he had told various ministries to come up with list of bills pending in Rajya Sabha and those which had lapsed in the Lok Sabha and these will be taken up after their timing is decided in the business advisory council.

"We will be taking up the general budget, the rail budget, Delhi budget. Also, we are willing to discuss any issue of national importance," he said.

With the opposition parties making a strong pitch to raise price rise and rail fare hike, Naidu suggested that these issues could be raised during discussion on rail and general budgets. Some parties also said that they would raise the issue of arrest of Indian fishermen by Sri Lanka.

The rail budget will be presented July 8 and general budget July 10.

Naidu said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has told him the government was prepared to discuss any issue permitted by the chair.

"We assured speaker of our full cooperation in conducting the house in a dignified manner. I appeal to the opposition that decorum of the house is maintained," he said.

Mahajan said that her meeting with leaders of parties was "very good" and members assured her of their cooperation. She said there were various suggestions for discussions and the government said "they wanted to give full time for discussions".

She said that as standing committees have not been constituted yet, discussion of demands of grants of ministries will be held in the house. She said the session, which ends Aug 14, will have 168 hours for work.

The speaker steered clear of questions on the issue of granting leader of opposition status to the Congress and said that the meeting she had convened was to discuss the business before the house. Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge also indicated the issue was not raised at the meeting.

Mahajan also said that Lok Sabha proceedings will have a new feature and picture of the member who is speaking will be shown on a screen for a clear view to all members. "This was desire of many members as they had to turn back and see," she said.

Trinamool Congress leader Kalyan Banerjee said the party was keen that issues of price hike and increase in rail fares before the rail budget were taken up early. He also attacked the government on the issue of federalism, saying though the government says that it has great respect for federalism but "in essence we don't see the sign of such federalism".

Modi did not attend the meeting but came for the lunch later.

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