January 29 will mark the beginning of the Budget Sessions 2018 at the Parliament with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) presenting their last budget before the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha Election. After facing much criticism in the past over demonetisation, the roll-out of Goods and Service Tax (GST) and falling GDP, the BJP is leaving nothing to chance with 2018 Budget. Keeping in mind the upcoming budgets, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also abandoned his sessions at World Economic Forum (WEF 2018) in Davos. In an all-party meet that took place on Sunday ahead of the budget sessions, BJP said that they are ‘sincerely’ looking at the suggestions presented by the opposition.
Talking to the media, BJP’s Parliamentary Affairs minister Ananth Kumar told media that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said ‘the government is taking the suggestions of the opposition “sincerely”‘. The 3-day budget sessions will end with BJP presenting the Union Budget 2018 on February 1. The following session holds much importance for the BJP as this budget is said to decide their destiny in 2019 Lok Sabha Election. With BJP eyeing the nod from the Rajya Sabha over triple talaq bill, the Opposition is likely to raise the UP communal riots that took place in Kasganj district.
In past BJP has faced extreme attacks from the opposition over ‘no job creation’, falling economy and the plight of traders who are suffering the ‘unplanned’ roll out of the GST. In order to cover-up, BJP is likely to garner support from the backward classes, which was said to be the least cared class by the ruling government, by giving constitutional status to the Commission on Other Backward Castes. The gross domestic growth forecast for the year ending March 2018 has been predicted as 6.5%, the weakest in four years and all credits to GST and demonetisation by BJP.
The all-party meeting was also attended by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who represented the government. The opposition was represented by Mallikarjun Kharge of the Congress, Mulayam Singh Yadav of Samajwadi Party, D Raja of the CPI, Kanimozhi from the DMK, Derek O’Brien and Sudip Bandhopadhyay of Trinamool Congress. A lot is expected from the Union Budget session 2018 which will begin with President Ram Nath Kovind’s first address to a joint sitting of members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.