By now, it is pretty obvious that the Opposition is planning to lash out at the government over the demonetisation of high value currency notes in the Winter Session of the Parliament, which will begin on Thursday.
During an all-party meeting convened by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, major Opposition parties urged Mahajan to allow a debate on demonetisation on a priority so that difficulties faced by the common man could be highlighted.
However, apart from demonetisation, the Opposition will raise many other issues in the upcoming Winter Session.
The surgical strikes across the Line of Control (LoC), policy towards Pakistan, the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme and the plight of farmers were also among issues that were raised at the meeting with parties demanding discussion on them.
"The situation in Jammu and Kashmir, holding of simultaneous elections to state assemblies and Lok Sabha, and state funding of polls also emerged as issues on which parties have demanded discussion," the Speaker said after the meeting.
"We will raise government's failures on all fronts, including black money and issues concerning farmers. There have been about 300 ceasefire violations in Jammu and Kashmir in the last one-and-a-half months which has resulted in soldiers being martyred and civilian deaths," Congress spokesperson Ajoy Kumar told IANS.
"Other issues we will be raising include alleged politicisation of Army's surgical strikes and communalisation of the entire system. On Goods and Services Tax concerns of states are not being taken into account," Revolutionary Socialist Party leader NK Premachandran further said, adding that demonetisation was a major issue for Left parties.
Congress also wants a discussion on the proposed merger of Railway and Union budgets.
The Speaker sought cooperation from the ruling party and the Opposition in the smooth functioning of the House.
Only time will tell how smooth the functioning of the Parliament really is.
It will also, thus, decide how many bills are passed and introduced during this session.
Mahajan said that 22 to 23 bills are likely to be introduced in the winter session which will have 22 sittings.
The government is keen on passage of pending Goods and Services Tax (GST) bills and its roll out from 1 April next year.
The pending bills for roll out of GST include Central Goods and Services Tax Bill to facilitate levy of tax on intra-state supply of goods or services, Integrated Goods and Services Tax Bill to facilitate levy of tax on inter-state supply of goods or services and The Goods and Services Tax (Compensation for Loss of Revenue) Bill to facilitate payment of compensation to states for loss of revenue arising on account of implementation of GST.
Apart from the three bills on GST, the other six bills listed for introduction, consideration and passing (according to PRS Legislative Research) are:
1. The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 (Aims to constitute a National Surrogacy Board, State Surrogacy Boards and regulate surrogacy.)
2. The Divorce (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (Seeks to amend the Divorce Act, 1869 on issues of dissolution of marriage and mandatory period of separate residence.)
3. The Indian Institutes of Management Bill, 2016 (Seeks to declare IIMs institutions of national importance, thus enabling them to award degrees.)
4. The Collection of Statistics (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (Aims at extending jurisdiction of the 2008 Act to Jammu and Kashmir on statistical matters.)
5. The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (Seeks to revise the list of STs in Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and Tripura.)
6. The Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Bill, 2016 (Seeks to combine laws for jurisdiction, claims and arrests of vessels.)
There are also ten bills listed for consideration and passing.
1. The Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (Increases maternity leave to 26 weeks and grants leave to adopting and commissioning mothers. This bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha this year and is pending in the Lok Sabha.)
2. The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013 (Proposes to criminalise giving a bribe and modify the definition of taking a bribe, requires prior sanction before prosecuting former officials.)
3. The Mental Health Care Bill, 2013 (Replaces Mental Health Act, 1987 to protect the rights of the mentally ill. It was passed by the Rajya Sabha this year and is pending in Lok Sabha.)
4. The Whistle Blowers Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2015 (Specifies conditions in which corruption-linked disclosures cannot be made. It was passed by the Lok Sabha and is pending in the Rajya Sabha.)
5. The Consumer Protection Bill, 2015 (Replaces the 1986 Act and provides the redressal of consumer complaints.)
6. The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (Proposes that illegal immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan apply for Indian citizenship.)
7. The Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2014 (Seeks to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and prohobit discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS.)
8. The Employee's Compensation (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (Requires employer to inform employee of his or her right to compensation.)
9. The Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (Increases the limit of overtime work hours, empowers central government to make rules on overtime hours. It was passed by the Lok Sabha and is pending in Rajya Sabha.)
10. The Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2016 (Vests the rights over enemy property in an office of the central government.)
With inputs from agencies