Ready to discuss all issues, says PM

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ManmohanNew Delhi August 5;Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday appealed to the Opposition to cooperate in smooth functioning of Parliament and said government is willing to discuss all issues during the Monsoon Session.

“We have wasted a lot of time in the last two-three sessions and hope this is not repeated in this session,” Mr. Singh told reporters outside Parliament.

“Government is willing to discuss all issues on the floor of the House,” he said while urging the Opposition to ensure that the session is “truly productive and constructive with solid results.”

A heavy agenda including the ordinance on the Food Security Bill awaits the nearly month-long Monsoon session which began on Monday.

While several parties including the BJP have said that they support the Food Security Bill in principle, a host of other issues including the decision on separate Telangana could cast a shadow on the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha in the first few days with members from Andhra Pradesh agitated over the development.

Several members from the Seemandhra region belonging to Congress and TDP have tendered their resignations in protest against the decision, but they have not been accepted and Congress leadership is attempting to persuade its MPs and ministers not to revolt.

The Prime Minister has already sought Opposition’s cooperation in the passage of the legislative business including the “most important” ordinance on food security bill.

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram had reached out to BJP for support to key reform bills on opening up the insurance and pension sector, but failed to get any assurance.

Mr. Chidambaram had a discussion with BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Yashwant Sinha on the financial bills that have been listed for consideration during the session.

The BJP leaders agreed to support routine and necessary financial business but indicated that the party will continue to oppose further opening of the insurance and pension sectors to foreign direct investment (FDI).

Ms. Swaraj, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, has demanded a debate on the current economic situation in the backdrop of the declining rupee, rising prices and slowing GDP growth.

As many as some 40 bills have been listed for consideration and passage in the session, which will have only 12 working days and government has expressed readiness to extend the session if need be.

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