The Budget Session began today and is scheduled to meet till
May 13, 2016. Parliament will break for recess from March 17 to April 24 during
which Standing Committees will examine the Demand for Grants of various
ministries. There will be a total of 31 sittings.
The legislative agenda includes 12 Bills for
consideration and passing. Four Bills including the Finance Bill, 2016 are listed
for introduction, consideration and passing. The government plans to introduce
two new Bills. Two Bills will be withdrawn. The complete list can be found in our Session Alert document here.
The President of India addressed members from both houses in a joint sitting. In his address, he outlined the
major policy priorities of the government across different sectors.
Some key highlights from the President’s Speech are given
Increase in GDP growth has made India the
world’s fastest growing economy among large economies. Inflation, fiscal
deficit and current account deficit have decreased. The country recorded the
highest ever foreign exchange reserves in 2015.
Financial inclusion: Under Pradhan Mantri Jan
Dhan Yojana, out of 21 crore accounts opened, 15 crore accounts are operational
with an aggregate deposit of over Rs 32,000 crore. The proposed Postal Payment
Bank of India will further boost financial inclusion. To universalise social
security, three new insurance and pension schemes have been launched, namely:
(i) Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana, (ii) Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima
Yojana, and (iii) Atal Pension Yojana.
Agriculture:Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana
has been launched for crop insurance with lowest ever premium rates for farmers.
Under Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana, 8,000 clusters have been developed to
promote organic farming. Soil Health Cards will be distributed to all 14 crore
farm-holdings by March 2017.
Aviation: A Civil Aviation Policy is being
formulated to improve connectivity to small cities.
The complete document of highlights is attached.