Wednesday February 20, 2019
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Union Budget Session to commence on February 29

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New Delhi: The capital will witness the onset of Budget Session of the Parliament on February 23. The joint session will be addressed by President Pranab Mukherjee.

The railway budget will be presented on February 25 while the Union Budget will be presented on February 29.

The meeting of Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs (CCPA) saw the decision being taken in this regard. The Union home minister Rajnath Singh headed the meeting.

The first session will end on March 16. The second session will start from April 25 and end on May 13.

The session will see the government pushing its legislative agenda this time as well, just they did in the last two sessions.

The Opposition will be seen raising a number of issues in this budget session, including the ongoing crisis in J&K. Moreover, the PhD scholar Rohith Vemula’s suicide case and the imposition of President’s Rule in Arunachal Pradesh will also be seen getting discussed.

Earlier on Wednesday, Sonia Gandhi, the Congress president held a meeting to chalk out the party’s strategy to be adopted in the Budget session. The party’s core committee members on parliamentary affairs attended the meeting.

The government blames the Opposition of turning out to be a hindrance in the House proceedings and significant legislations.

M Venkaiah Naidu, desiring to seek advice on the Budget Session, invited several political parties for an informal meeting later in the day. M Venkaiah Naidu is the Union parliamentary affairs minister. (Inputs from Agencies)

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Brazil’s President Bolsonaro Faces First Defeat in Congress

The defeat on the floor of the house came one day after Bolsonaro fired a senior minister amid a scandal.

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Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro arrives at the inauguration ceremony of the new president of the Parliamentary Front of Agriculture (FPA), at the Clube Naval, in Brasilia, Jan. 19, 2019. VOA

Brazil’s lower chamber handed right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro his first defeat in Congress on Tuesday, the day before his government presents its most important legislative proposal to rein in a gaping budget deficit and spur growth.

The house voted overwhelmingly to suspend an executive order by the Bolsonaro government that altered Brazil’s freedom of information law to broaden the number of officials allowed to designate data and documents as secret or ultra-secret.

Lawmakers voted 367 to 57 to fast-track a bill overturning the secrecy measure and government whips were unable to muster votes to avoid defeat.

The bill must still be voted on by the Senate, but the reversal showed that Bolsonaro, who took office on Jan. 1, has not yet been able to organize a coalition in Congress to back his legislative agenda.

On Wednesday, Bolsonaro will send to Congress his plan to overhaul Brazil’s generous and costly pension system that eats up more than half of federal spending and is the main factor behind an unsustainable budget deficit.

Brazil, Bolsonaro
FILE – Gustavo Bebianno in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sept. 29, 2018. VOA

Approval of pension reform is vital for the recovery of investor confidence in Latin America’s largest economy.

The defeat on the floor of the house came one day after Bolsonaro fired a senior minister amid a scandal involving campaign financing for some of his party’s congressional candidates in the October elections.

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The ousted minister, Gustavo Bebianno, was instrumental in getting Bolsonaro elected but had a run-in with one of the president’s sons, triggering the weeks-old government’s first cabinet crisis.

In a note to clients, analysts at Eurasia Group said the scandal indicated the administration’s political team was in disarray, but they still expected the pension reform to get passed, albeit in a less ambitious version. (VOA)