Budget session to begin today

The budget session of the legislature beginning here on Tuesday is expected to be stormy, with the opposition set to corner the ruling PDP-BJP government on a number of issues including human rights violations in Kashmir, local youth joining the militant ranks, restrictions on employees from airing political views on social media and “overall mis-governance” in the state. 

Amid tight security arrangements, the session shall begin with the governor’s address to joint sitting of lawmakers from the legislative assembly and the legislative council.  

During the session, finance minister HaseebDrabu shall present the annual budget for 2018-19 on January 11.

Ahead of the start of the session, the opposition parties held their legislature party meetings to discuss the issues on which they would corner the coalition government.

While the National Conference legislature party met at 4:30 pm, the Congress legislature party met at 6 pm. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is also hosting a dinner for legislators of the ruling alliance on Thursday.

The NC legislature party meet was chaired by senior party leader Muhammad Shafi (Uri) in absence of its working president Omar Abdullah. Talking to Greater Kashmir, National Conference general secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar said that the party would seek an answer from the government over civilian deaths and frequent police crackdowns and raids in Kashmir.  “We will raise the issue of civilian deaths and excesses committed by government forces in Kashmir. In the name of fighting militancy, civilians are being killed in the Valley,” he said, adding that the “government has made lives of youth a hell in Kashmir by resorting to nocturnal raids, arrests and frequent crackdowns.”

Sagar said that they would also raise the issue of youth taking up arms in Kashmir, “which is a very dangerous trend.”

He said that the coalition government has also “failed” to address governance issues and the people are suffering due to power crisis in the state. Talking to reporters here, J&K Congress president GhulamAhmad  Mir said that they will take up every issue concerning the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh—whether political or developmental—to make the government accountable and answerable.

He said that the party would also raise the issue of government banning employees from airing their political views on social media.

“The order restricting use of social media by employees shows how scared the government is. It a completely undemocratic decision and if not withdrawn, it will be a big issue during the budget session,” he said. He said that the party legislators would seek answers from the government over its “failure” to implement the agenda of alliance (AoA), development inertia, tussle over political issues between the coalition partners and backdoor appointments. “We would seek an answer from the government over backdoor political adjustments of party leaders, who were made vice-chairmen of various corporations,” he said. Referring to the regularisation of 60,000 casual labourers and daily-rated workers by the government, he claimed that it was a big joke with the youth who served the departments for over two decades as the government has given different pay scales (to them) depending on the period of their service. Chairman Peoples Democratic Front and MLA Khansahab Hakeem Muhammad Yasin said that all limits of “brutality and tyranny” have been surpassed in Kashmir. “I will seek an answer from the government over civilian killings and lawlessness in Kashmir,” he said.

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