NEW DELHI: Finance minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday said it was doubtful whether any key legislation, except for the vote-on-account, will be passed in the current session of Parliament which began today.
“If Parliament does not meet to pass laws, and beginning today you will see Parliament will meet, but I doubt whether it will pass any law. “We have to go through the ritual of attending Parliament everyday and come back empty handed,” he said.
Chidambaram was addressing students of Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) at its business conclave. Later talking to reporters, he said the Finance Bill, Vote-on-Account and Appropriation Bill will be passed. “…but if it is passed without debate or discussion, I won’t be happy. I want it to pass with discussion and debate,” the finance minister said.
Government has listed several bills which it seeks to pass during the session which will end on February 21.
Besides the interim budget, government wants to pass the Telangana Bill as well as some anti-corruption legislations.
Meanwhile, terming possible disruptions of parliamentary proceedings over the Telangana issue as “hiccups”, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told reporters outside Parliament House that he hoped all sections will have the wisdom to set aside “prejudices” to ensure harmonious working of the session.
Responding to a query on cut in prices of CNG and PNG ahead of the general elections, Chidambaram said government has not given any sops, but has only rationalised some prices.
“Government has not given any sops. Just because you guys call it a sop, it does not become a sop. Government has rationalised some prices, that is a decision taken by oil market companies,” he said.
Government has decided to cut CNG prices by about Rs 15 per kg and cooking gas piped to kitchens by about Rs 5 per cubic meter.
The finance minister also assured that the red line for fiscal deficit drawn by him 18 months ago will not be breached.
“… have no doubt in your mind… The fiscal deficit will be contained at 4.8 per or below (of the GDP in 2013-14),” he said.
Chidambaram also said that when he lays down office, he will leave a more stable economy than what it was two years ago.
Stressing that India has the potential to grow at 8-9 per cent for next 20-30 years owing to its demographic advantages and resources, he said anything that comes in the way of growth must be opposed.
India’s economic growth estimate for the fiscal 2012-13 has been revised downward to 4.5 per cent, a decade low, from earlier projection of 5 per cent. In the current fiscal too, the Reserve Bank expects the GDP growth to be below 5 per cent.