New Delhi, Nov 24

The delayed Winter Session of Parliament will begin on December 15 and continue till January 5, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said on Friday.

"The Winter Session of Parliament will be held between December 15 to January 5. It will have 14 sittings over a duration of 22 days," Kumar told reporters after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs (CCPA) here.

An official statement from the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry said the session dates were recommended by the CCPA, and is "subject to exigencies of government business".

Kumar also said that Parliament will remain closed on December 25 and 26 for Christmas.

Talking to journalists, Ananth Kumar said that it was not unprecedented for the Parliament Session schedule to be decided so as to avoid overlap with Assembly Elections.

"This practice has been followed on many occasions by different governments in the past," he said.

The Minister said earlier sessions have been delayed during the times of former Prime Ministers P.V. Narasimha Rao, and Manmohan Singh, in 1993, 2008 and 2011.

"Many times, the sessions have been planned considering the assembly elections of different states. Many times it has been held in late December and gone into January as well."
The Minister appealed to all political parties for fruitful and constructive discussions on important Bills and to ensure smooth functioning of both Houses of Parliament.

The meeting was chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh and the legislative agenda for the upcoming session of Parliament was also discussed.

Answering a question on Triple Talaq and the National Commission for Backward Classes, Ananth Kumar said it is "a strong desire of the people of India that Parliament should legislate on these two important issues and the Government is committed to respond to this desire".

The legislative business will include The Goods & Services Tax (Compensation to States) Ordinance, 2017, which was promulgated on September 9, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 and Indian Forest (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 which exempts Bamboo produced in non-forest areas from classification as a "tree" under the Indian Forest (Amendment) Act.

The Congress and the opposition parties have been criticising the delay in holding the session, saying it was being done as the government did not want to face inconvenient issues ahead of the Gujarat Assembly elections.

The Congress had petitioned President Ram Nath Kovind on the issue on Thursday.

The Parliament session normally begins in the third week of November and continues for about a month.

 

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