Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday set the tone for a new session of Parliament by coining a new meaning for GST - "Growing Stronger Together".
The PM was making a play on the acronym for the new taxation bill - the Goods and Services Tax bill - the provisions of which came into effect across the country in the last special session of Parliament called on July 1 midnight.
"GST shows the good that can be achieved when all parties come together and work for the nation," the PM said, adding that he hopes for a fruitful monsoon session. "The GST spirit is about growing stronger together. I hope the same GST spirit prevails in the session," the PM added.
"Like the monsoon fills the earth with a new fragrance, the monsoon session of Parliament is filled with the hopes and dream of a successful GST," he added.
The PM also hailed the country's farmers even as the monsoon season has set in across the country and hoped and prayed for a good harvest.
A day earlier, PM Modi said it is important that all political parties support the government so business can be conducted in both houses of Parliament without disruption and so that constructive discussions can takes place on issues of national importance.
This, the PM said, is necessary to preserve the institution of democracy in India. He also urged all leaders to achieve consensus on celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Quit India Movement on August 9 in both Houses of Parliament.
On Sunday, Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan called a meeting of leaders of political parties at Parliament to ensure a smooth transaction of business in the House.
The Monsoon Session of Parliament will continue until August 11.
Parliament’s monsoon session, which starts on Monday, will be significant both for debate on burning issues and elections to high constitutional offices. In the month-long sitting, the bicameral legislature will witness change of guard in the presidency and the office of the vice-president.
The Houses summoned by Pranab Mukherjee, the outgoing President, will be prorogued — after adjourning sine die — by his successor. The new President and vice-president are to be sworn in on July 25 and August 11 respectively while Parliament is still in session.
The president is Parliament’s integral part as its head. In that capacity, Mr Mukherjee, whose term ends on July 25, will deliver his farewell address to the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in the Central Hall a couple of days before demitting office. His last address to the nation will be broadcast on July 24.
NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind’s election as President against the Opposition’s Meira Kumar is almost a foregone conclusion, the ruling combine at the Centre having overwhelming numbers in the electoral-college for the presidency comprising state legislatures and Parliament. The outcome is unlikely to be different for the V-P’s office held for a decade by Hamid Ansari who retires on August 11.
The ruling combine hasn’t yet named its vice-presidential nominee but the Opposition has fielded former governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi as their joint candidate. Regardless of the outcome, the session of the council of states will be adjourned sine die by the new V-P’s who’d also be its chairperson.
Amid elections of top constitutional functionaries, a host of issues could engage Parliament’s attention besides the treasury’s legislative business. Foremost among them are: The protracted India-China faceoff on the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet border; the Kashmir crisis, including the recent terror attack on Amarnath pilgrims; beef vigilantism; the Darjeeling ferment, and; and the rising agrarian crisis.
The all-party meeting the government convened on the Dokalam standoff on the eve of the monsoon session was aimed perhaps at giving diplomacy a chance — besides forging a national consensus on the tricky issue.
The initiative has been well-received and will have a sobering impact on a parliamentary debate if the Opposition insists on it. But sparks are likely to fly on the situation in the Kashmir valley — including the lynching of a police officer in Srinagar — and cow vigilantism and farmers protests in BJP-ruled states.