Confident government ready to face winter session

By Sarkaritel November 23, 2014 19:03

Confident government ready to face winter session

New Delhi, Nov 23 Fresh from its assembly polls successes, a confident BJP-led government is expected to push for the passage of key economic bills, including on the insurance sector, in the winter session of parliament beginning Monday.

But the depleted opposition has vowed to expose the “double speak” of the Bhratiya Janata Party and oppose the dilution of legislation passed by the previous Congress-led government.

The session is being held after Prime Minster Narendra Modi scripted a historic success for his party in Haryana and Maharashtra, boosting the confidence of a government that will soon complete six months in office.

The session, the first after the expansion of the council of ministers this month, will have 22 sittings and will end Dec 23.

The session will coincide with assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand. In both states, the BJP is confident of taking power or, in Kashmir, at least be a kingmaker.

The session will see a unity of sorts by the opposition after the Lok Sabha rout. The Samajwadi Party, Janata Dal-United, Rashtriya Janata Dal and Janata Dal-Secular have agreed to team up in parliament.

“There will be coordination among these parties,” JD-U’s K.C. Tyagi told IANS.

He said the government would find the going tough if it tried to pass the insurance amendment bill in the Rajya Sabha where it does not have a majority.

The bill, which seeks to raise foreign direct investment (FDI) in the insurance sector to 49 percent from 26 percent now, is being examined by a select committee of the Rajya Sabha.

States have voiced concern on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill. Differences have also cropped up over government efforts to dilute MNREGA and the Land Acquisition bill.

Congress general secretary Shakeel Ahmed said his party will expose the “double speak” of the BJP on the insurance and GST bills.

“When we pushed for their passage, the BJP created hurdles… If the bills had been passed, the country would have benefited,” he said.

The Congress also wants to raise the issue of black money stashed abroad by Indians and oppose moves to dilute the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGREGA) and the Land Acquisition Bill.

But the Congress is ready to support those steps of the government which it feels are in the interests of the people.

The Trinamool Congress is expected to toughen its stand against the government following the arrest of its Rajya Sabha MP Srinjoy Bose in the Saradha scam.

Officials said the government agenda for the session could include a bill to resolve problems related to ponzi schemes.

The government has promulgated two ordinances – the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Ordinance, 2014 and the Textile Undertakings (Nationalisation) Laws (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance, 2014.

Bills to replace both these ordinances would be brought during the session.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the government was ready to discuss all issues with the opposition.

“We will work with the cooperation of the opposition parties,” Naqvi told IANS.

According to PRS Legislative Research, a research initiative which tracks the work of parliament, there are 67 bills pending before the house.

Of these, nine were introduced in the monsoon session of parliament, while 40 of these were introduced in the 15th Lok Sabha during the UPA II government. Eighteen bills are pending from earlier Lok Sabhas.

Shreya Singh of PRS Legislative Research said a number of bills lapsed at the end of the 15th Lok Sabha.

“These included the GST Bill, the Public Procurement Bill and the Citizen Charter Bill. It is now upto the new government to decide which of these lapsed Bills it wants to reintroduce in Parliament,” she said.

“The government also faces the task of building consensus around the Insurance Laws Amendment Bill, for which the select committee report is expected by the second week of December,” she added.

Starting with this session, the Rajya Sabha has decided to shift its Question Hour from 11 a.m. to noon, and has also extended its sitting time by an hour.

By Sarkaritel November 23, 2014 19:03