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Parliament Budget Session: White Paper discussion to rock Lok Sabha today

Stormy scenes expected in Lok Sabha as members discuss 'White Paper' comparing Congress and BJP economic management. Banking crisis highlighted.

The Lok Sabha will be the scene of a stormy debate on Friday as members discuss the 'White Paper' presented by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The paper compares the economic management of the Congress-led UPA government with that of the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled dispensation over a 10-year period.

The White Paper, which spans nearly 60 pages, was presented in both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha by Sitharaman on Thursday. It highlights the banking crisis as a significant legacy of the UPA government, accusing it of abandoning reforms after coming to power in 2004.

The paper asserts that the UPA government failed to build upon the strong foundation laid by the previous BJP-led NDA government, despite the economy experiencing rapid growth between 2004 and 2008 due to the effects of NDA-led reforms and favorable global conditions. The UPA government is criticized for failing to consolidate high growth and for not investing in infrastructure to boost future growth prospects.

It also accuses the UPA government of political interference in the commercial lending decisions of public sector banks, citing the banking crisis as a major and infamous legacy of their time in power.

The White Paper further points to scandals in the defense sector, delaying the acquisition of weapons and compromising defense preparedness. It also highlights the "coal scam" and the allocation of coal blocks on an arbitrary basis, without following a transparent process.

The controversies surrounding the 2G spectrum scam, the coal gate scam, and the Common Wealth Games (CWG) are cited as reflecting poorly on India's image as an investment destination.

In the Rajya Sabha, the Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai will move the Jammu and Kashmir Local Bodies Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2024, for consideration and passage, while Union Minister Jitendra Singh will move the Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Bill, 2024 for consideration and passage.

The Lower House recently passed the Finance Bill, 2024, marking the end of the Interim Budget exercise. The Budget Session, which began with the address by President Droupadi Murmu to the joint sitting of two Houses, has been extended by a day until February 10, having originally been scheduled to conclude on February 9.

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