As India starts its parliamentary session on Tuesday, hopes are at a low ebb that the business-friendly laws central to Prime Minister Modi's lofty reform agenda will gain traction.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) intends to discuss three contentious bills—land acquisition, a goods and services (GST) tax and a revision of labor laws—at the three-week long meeting, commonly referred to as the monsoon session since it coincides with the start of annual rainfalls.
All three pieces of legislation are meant to bolster Modi's courtship of foreign investment and enhance the overall ease of doing business in India, but fervid opposition from rival parties and recent political scandals will likely see lawmakers continue bickering instead, resulting in a washout session.
The first week will likely be the rowdiest as opposition members demand the resignations of BJP ministers currently embroiled in corruption scandals, explained Pratima Singh, senior research analyst for South Asia, at Frontier Strategy Group (FSG). Once that's resolved, the session can move onto economic issues during the second and third week, she said.
"An uneventful parliamentary session will be negative for market sentiment, especially as the land acquisition bill and GST framework have become key barometers of the government's ability to implement its agenda," warned DBS economist Radhika Rao in a Monday note.