Thiruvananthapuram, January 22, BPNS
The budget session (eighth session) of the 15th Kerala Assembly will commence on Monday. The State Budget for 2023-24 fiscal will be presented by finance minister KN Balagopal on February 3. The session that will meet for a total of 33 days will open at 9 am with a policy address of Governor Arif Mohammad Khan. Briefing the media here, Speaker AN Shamseer said that the session looks forward to passing the budget.
“The motion of thanks will be discussed on January 25, February 1, and 2. There will be no sitting of the house from January 26 to 31. The general discussion of the budget will be held from February 6 to 8,” said Shamseer.
According to the Speaker, from February 11 to 26 various subject committees will meet to scrutinize the demands for grants. During this period also the Assembly will have no sitting.
“The session will resume on February 27. For discussion and passing of demands for grants, 13 days have been earmarked, which will start from February 28. For government business and private members’ business, five days each has also been allocated,” added Shamseer.
As per the plan, the budget session will conclude on March 30.
It was on last Thursday that the Cabinet approved the draft policy address.
A lot of twists and turns
Earlier in December due to the cold war between the Governor and chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, it was presumed that the government might avoid the Governor’s policy address. The speculation was rife in this regard as the state cabinet didn’t decide to recommend the Governor to prorogue the seventh session that ended on December 13. It was then alleged that the government has plans to extend the assembly session to January to avoid a policy address.
But on December 14 the Chief Minister’s Office said that the government had entrusted Additional Chief Secretary Sarada Muraleedharan with the task to collate the information for the policy address.
Then came the Christmas Party. When the CM and ministers skipped the party organized by the Raj Bhavan, the Governor was not invited to the party organized by the CM.
The Governor’s reluctance to re-induct Saji Cheriyan into the Cabinet also gave signs of the cold war between the Governor and the CM.
But the tussle gave way to peace as the Governor accepted CM’s recommendation of the date of swearing-in of Saji, on January 4. The function held at the Raj Bhavan also saw the Governor and the CM exchanging pleasantries showing signs of a patch-up.
As per reports, the draft policy address will be shorter this time as the one approved by the Cabinet runs into 192 paragraphs. Last year it was 212 paragraphs.
The main things to be watched out for in the policy address will be the government’s stance in the higher education sector as it wants to remove the Governor from the chancellor post and its criticism of worsening Centre- state relationship.