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India began a rare special session of Parliament on Monday, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi promising that the five-day gathering of lawmakers will yield “historic decisions.”
“This session is short, but based on the timing, it is very big,” Modi told reporters ahead of the session, without elaborating.
For now, the government has listed bills to appoint election commissioners and discuss the 75-year journey of India’s parliamentary history, among others. But special sessions are sometimes used to make weighty announcements, and there’s market buzz that Modi could spring a surprise.
During the last special session in 2017, lawmakers rolled out India’s historic nationwide goods and services tax, which forged a single economic zone from a thicket of overlapping federal and state taxes.
Among the possibilities this time around are amending the constitution to hold federal and state elections together; changing the country’s name to Bharat; or reserving one-third of parliamentary seats for women.
Legislators will start discussing bills from a new four-story Parliament building on Tuesday. The agenda includes a controversial bill that would set conditions for how election commissioners are chosen in India. Other bills up for debate would make changes to the postal service and amend rules followed by lawyers in the court system.
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