Pegasus issue likely to take centre stage during budget session of Parliamenttext_fields
New Delhi: The Budget session of Parliament will begin from today with President Ram Nath Kovind's address to both the Houses. According to the schedule released by the Lok Sabha secretariat, the President's address will take place in the Central Hall at 11 am.
The first day of the session is likely to be stormy with opposition parties all geared up to corner the government over the Pegasus snooping allegations, farmers' issues and the border row with China.
Earlier this week, the New York Times claimed in a report that India purchased Pegasus spyware as part of a defence deal with Israel in 2017. In July last year, making a statement on the Pegasus issue, the IT Minister had told Parliament that "no unauthorised surveillance can occur".
The Opposition parties are planning to raise this in Parliament.
However, according to sources, the government is unlikely to agree to discuss the Pegasus issue during the Budget session.
The main Opposition party, Congress, has said it will reach out to like-minded parties to raise issues including farmers' distress, China-India border row, Covid-19 relief, sale of Air India, etc. during the Budget session.
The Budget session offers only seventy-nine and a half hours over 29 sittings for the government's legislative agenda and issues of immediate public concern.
A total of 135 hours of sitting time is available to the Rajya Sabha to transact various items of business during 27 sittings scheduled from February 2 to April 8, with five hours per day.
The Budget session is the sixth one to be held since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
While the Budget session of 2020 was curtailed by eight sittings, the Budget session of 2021 was shortened by ten sittings.