India

India's parliament begins monsoon session

An Indian defence serviceman keeps watch as displaced Muslim villagers look on in the background at a relief camp in Butgaon village in Assam state's Kokrajhar district on July 28, 2012.
Image caption The violence in Assam is likely to be debated during the session

The Indian parliament has begun its monsoon session where a number of key issues are to be debated.

The Congress party-led government is likely to come under pressure over the violence in Assam, inflation and drought-like conditions in some states.

The ethnic violence in Assam, a state ruled by the Congress party, has already claimed 73 lives.

The opposition is likely to raise the issue of two massive power cuts on successive days earlier this month.

Reports say that over 30 bills have been listed for discussion in the month-long session - these include bills on banking laws and protection of whistleblowers.

The controversial Lokpal bill to check corruption has, however, not been listed for discussion, the state-run Doordarshan News said.

The bill, which empowers an independent ombudsman to prosecute politicians and civil servants, was passed by the Lok Sabha, the lower house, in December.

But the upper house adjourned amid chaos without passing the controversial legislation.

Last week, anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare called off a protest hunger strike over the Lokpal bill after announcing plans to enter politics.

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