Himachal Pradesh Assembly in Shimla is being readied for the first budget session of the 13th Legislative Assembly, beginning 6 March.

While a portion of the Assembly is being re-done ahead of the session, Speaker, Dr Rajeev Bindal has directed the officials for foolproof arrangements, including flawless security.

After the formation of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in December 2017, the MLAs had taken oath during winter session in Dharamshala in January 2018.

In the 68th member Assembly Bjp has a strength of 44, Congress 21 and independent three.

While addressing the meeting of Press gallery committee on Wednesday, Bindal decided most of the issues to facilitate smooth media coverage there and then.

The budget session has 17 sittings in all till 5 April with a break from 17 to 25 March.

Giving details, the Speaker said the MLAs had got more time to send their questions this time as the notification was done on 16 February.

“There would be 17 sittings in the budget session. The Chief Minister, who is also finance minister, will present the budget estimates for 2018-19 on 9 March.

The discussion on the budget proposals would be done from 12 to 16 March. From 26 to 29 March, there would be discussion on cut motions.

The budget would be passed on 29 March. There would be two private member days on 8 March and 5 April,” he said.

The Speaker said so far 219 questions have been received from the members of the Assembly for the ensuing budget session.

A majority of them relate to roads, vacancies in schools and health institutions and the issues pertaining to different constituencies.

Bindal said the drive in the session should be issue based so that the state and the democracy benefits. “Otherwise, it dilutes public interest.”

The Speaker said the concept of zero hour during the Assembly session needs to be examined for its usefulness as its just about raising issues without reply by the government.

Director, Information and Public Relations, Anupam Kashyap also attended the meeting.