Maharashtra legislature: 6-day budget session to begin on Feb 25

Mumbai | The six-day budget session of the Maharashtra Legislature will begin on February 25 and is expected to be a heated one as it would be the last before the Lok Sabha elections.

It was initially planned for three weeks starting February 18 but had to be curtailed to a six-day affair as the model of code of conduct for the 2019 general polls is expected to come into force by March. The six-day session will begin with the address of Governor C Vidyasagar Rao to the state Legislature.

Supplementary demands will be tabled on February 26 and passed on the same day while the vote-on-account, which will have budget provisions till July 31, will be tabled on February 27. The provisions of the interim budget will be discussed and passed on February 28.

The vote-on-account is expected to focus in a major way on agriculture, and a two-day debate on the state’s drought situation will also take place on March 1-2.

The opposition Congress and Nationalist Congress party will try to the corner the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance on the prevailing drought in the state, farmers’ suicides as well as law and order.

The ruling allies, who have continually bickered on most issues since attaining power in 2014, have recently firmed up an alliance for the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls. However, fissures remain as the Sena wants the tenure of chief ministership to be divided into two-and-half year slots between the two parties.

The Congress-NCP are trying to get like-minded parties to form a grand alliance against the BJP but have so far managed to get only Raju Shetti’s Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana on board.

Among the new bills that will be introduced are for the creation of two self-financed universities – DY Patil at Ambi Talegaon in Pune and K G Somaiya at Vidyavihar in Mumbai. An amendment will be made to the Agricultural Universities Act so that the selection committee to appoint vice chancellors of such universities can include either the director of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) or the regional deputy director.

Since the jurisdiction of the ICAR director covers the entire country, there is a likelihood that he may not get time to attend the selection committee meeting which in turn delays the recruitment process.

A state Parliamentary Affairs department official said an amendment bill for the Land Revenue Code is also in the pipeline to benefit small societies. The amendment will ensure that special land assessment tax will be exempted for CIDCO and MHADA for plots that are more than eight acres, he said.

Another important bill is the amendment to the Public Trusts Act which will allow inclusion of intraocular surgeries in the list of medical procedures for poor patients for whom 10 per cent beds are reserved in charitable hospitals. Currently, surgeries which require only a day’s hospitalisation are not included in the list of medical procedures.

Prominent among the pending bills include one which lays down seizure of properties of public servants convicted for possessing assets disproportionate to their income.

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