The central government in a special meeting with select political leaders on Wednesday agreed to the demand by the opposition for the debate in parliament on four key subjects – Goods and Services Tax (GST), Jobs and Economy, National Education Policy (NEP) and the draft Environmental Impact Assessment Norms.
The meeting, chaired by Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, was attended by representatives of Congress, Trinamool Congress, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Samajwadi Party, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Telangana Rashtra Samithi and Communist Party of India (Marxist).
Congress leaders said that a second meeting would be held on Friday or Saturday, wherein India-China military deadlock issues could be placed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the eastern Ladakh sector. “We will first listen to Rajnath Singh’s statement and then decide our next strategy,” a Congress leader who attended the meeting said on condition of anonymity.
Rajnath Singh told the leaders that he will make a statement in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday at 12 noon on the India-China border issue, but the government is not in favor of an open debate on the issue.
Wednesday’s meeting was a rare example of explaining opposition on contentious issues. At the individual level, opposition leaders are regularly called in, but such meetings have taken place after a long hiatus.
Opposition parties also assured support for the seven ordinances. But demanded that three agricultural-related bills and banking regulation amendments be sent to select panels for a review. While the government managers did not agree with this.
Congress leaders were demanding a debate on the economy and job losses at the meeting and former Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, the chief whip of the party’s Rajya Sabha, pressed for a debate on the environment.