Here's your 10-point cheatsheet to this big story:
Welcoming MPs to the budget session, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed the importance of the budget and appealed to all parties to have spirited discussions with an open mind. "This session draws a structure for the entire year," he said and added that elections keep happening but Budget Session is very important and we need to make it fruitful.
The BJP-led government is likely to face attacks from several opposition parties on the issue of controversial Israeli spyware Pegasus following a recent report in the New York Times that claimed that the spyware, by the Israeli firm NSO, and a missile system were the "centerpieces" of a roughly $ 2 billion dollar deal of sophisticated weapons and intelligence gear between India and Israel. News of the spyware had earlier caused huge controversy, and protests by the opposition had washed out the monsoon session of the parliament, over its alleged use against the public, military and civil officers, politicians, activists, judges and journalists for illegal surveillance.
Opposition parties have slammed the government, with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi saying that the government "committed treason". Trinamool Congress leader Saugata Roy and Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury have demanded that a privilege motion be moved against Union minister for information technology Ashwini Vaishnaw for 'misleading' parliament on the Pegasus issue.
The opposition is also likely to raise the issue of farm distress. Congress said it has reached out to like-minded parties to raise it in the parliament. The government's U-turn on the three contentious farm laws had ended massive protests by farmers but several issues raised by the farmers are yet to be conclusively resolved.
Chinese incursion along the Line Of Actual Control (LAC), demand for a Covid relief package, and the sale of Air India are among other issues that the opposition will raise to back the government into a corner.
Sources told news agency PTI that the government is unlikely to agree to a discussion on the Pegasus issue and will focus on getting its legislative business cleared.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the Economic Survey 2021-22 on Monday and the Union Budget at 11 am on Tuesday.
The first part of the Budget Session will be held from January 31 to February 11 after which it will go into a recess to examine the budgetary allocations for different departments. The Session would resume on March 14 and conclude on April 8. The first part of the session will have 10 sittings while 19 sittings are scheduled for the second part.
Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla today said that parliamentarians will be seated in the central hall, the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha according to Covid protocols. "Necessary arrangements have been made to conduct the budget session in accordance with healthcare protocols," he said and added that the proceedings of the house will be live-streamed on the "Digital Sansad" app.
There will be no Zero Hour and Question Hour in both Houses of Parliament during the first two days of the Budget Session.
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