A brief Budget session of the Andhra Pradesh Legislature will begin on Tuesday, with indications that the government may push through the 2020-21 annual budget on the first day itself, breaking away from normal practice.
Since it is the first formal session during the calendar year, Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan will address a joint sitting of the Legislative Council and the Legislative Assembly. The address will take place via video conference from the Raj Bhavan. With this, Biswabhushan Harichandan is set to become perhaps the first Governor of any state in India to address the state legislature through video conferencing.
Andhra Pradesh is also set to become the first state to hold its legislature session after the COVID-19 pandemic breakout.
Though Government Chief Whip G Srikanth Reddy said the Business Advisory Committee would meet on Tuesday and decide on the duration of the session, all indications were that the government would wind up the business in two days, rushing through all the required motions.
Normally, the Houses are adjourned after the Governors address but, breaking away from tradition, the government is set to introduce the annual Budget on the same day.
A special meeting of the state Cabinet is scheduled for 9 am on Tuesday, where the Budget will be formally approved before it is tabled in the Assembly by Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath.
The Budget session of the Legislature is normally held in February-March every year but, because of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government brought in the Andhra Pradesh Appropriation (Vote-on-Account) Ordinance, 2020 on March 28, authorising an expenditure of Rs 70,994 crore for the first three months of the fiscal.
As the Vote-on-Account period ends on June 30, the government is required to get the Appropriation Bill passed by the Legislature before the due date.
As the government enjoys a brute majority of 151 in the 175 member Assembly, it hopes to complete all formalities, including the customary motion of thanks to the Governors address and adoption of the Appropriation Bill, in a day, official sources said.
The government business like introduction of new Bills, if any, would be taken up possibly on Wednesday so as to conclude the Budget session in just two days.
On June 18, a mock poll would be conducted for electing four members of the Rajya Sabha.
On June 19, voting to elect four members to the Rajya Sabha from the state in the biennial elections will be held.
The Rajya Sabha polls were put off in March due to the COVID-19 lockdown and the Election Commission of India recently announced the fresh schedule.
Election became necessary as the opposition TDP fielded its candidate despite its official strength being just 23.
For the first time, the media will not be permitted into the Legislature as part of COVID-19 control measures.
As per a bulletin issued by Legislature Secretary Balakrishnamacharyulu, only the members would be allowed entry, while their personal staff would not be permitted.
Arrangements are being made for medical screening of members.