The first leg of the budget session will be between January 29 and February 9. (File)
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the government is taking the suggestions of the opposition "sincerely", Parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar told the media after an all-party meeting ahead of the budget session today. The budget -- last full-fledged one before the 2019 general elections --will be presented on February 1. The government -- which is facing opposition attack on issues including job creation and the plight of traders -- also plans to push through several key bills. These include one banning instant triple talaq and another that will give constitutional status to the Commission on Other Backward Castes.
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PM said the budget session is very important and the government takes very sincerely the suggestions given about it by opposition during discussion in all party meeting, said Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar.
The Opposition plans to counter the government on rising incidents of rapes, the alleged "attack" on constitutional institutions and the plight of traders. "We want to raise these issues as they are important. The government should adopt a cooperative attitude and allow the opposition to raise these issues," Congress leader Pramod Tiwari was quoted as saying ahead of the meeting.
The focus of the union budget will be job creation, small businesses and rural schemes, reported news agency Reuters, quoting officials. "The budget is likely to offer incentives to the farm sector and small businesses," Reuters quoted an official as saying.
The gross domestic growth forecast for the year ending March 2018 has been predicted as 6.5 per cent, the weakest in four years. The slowdown has been attributed to the rollout of a nationwide goods and service tax (GST) last year and a shock move to ban high value currency notes in late 2016.
The first leg of the budget session will be between January 29 and February 9, during which the government will present the economic survey on January 29 followed by the Union Budget on February 1. After a recess, parliament will meet again from March 5 to April 6.
The two other key bills for the session - the triple talaq legislation that's pending in Rajya Sabha, and the bill seeking constitutional status for the OBC commission, are seen to have political significance for the BJP.
The BJP also hopes to consolidate its support among backward classes by giving constitutional status to the OBC commission, which will make it more powerful.
The all-party meeting, a convention before every session of parliament, was attended by 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.
The session will begin with President Ram Nath Kovind's address - his first - to a joint sitting of members of both houses. President Kovind is expected to outline the government's thrust on development and empowerment of people, especially those from backward and weaker sections, reported news agency Press Trust of India, quoting officials.