Winter Session begins today,firefights likely over communal violence and Telangana bills

This session may be a stormy one as the government is expected to push for several crucial bills.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: December 5, 2013 10:11 am

A day after the conclusion of the Assembly elections in five states,the Winter Session of Parliament is slated to begin on Thursday. And this session is likely to be a stormy one as the government is expected to push for several crucial bills,including Telangana statehood and communal violence.

However,there is little chance of much business on the first two days in the wake of the counting of votes for the Assembly elections on December 8.

Ahead of the Session,Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday urged political parties to ensure smooth business. “It is obligatory for political parties to get essential business of Parliament transacted speedily and smoothly,” he said.

When asked about BJP PM candidate Narendra Modi’s opposition to the Communal Violence Bill,the Prime Minister said,”It will be our effort to evolve broadbased consensus on all matters of great legislative importance.”

This comes even as the main Opposition party,the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has demanded that the short Winter Session,from December 5 to December 20,be extended into January. Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha,Sushma Swaraj had said that there was “unanimity among parties for extending the session after a one-week Christmas break”.

While the government has lined up 38 bills for passage,the highlight is likely to be the Bill aimed at creating Telangana. The Ministry of Home Affairs is also set to introduce an amended version of the communal violence Bill,which has been hanging fire for the last eight years. The draft Bill is said to contain provisions of the ‘Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill,2011’ prepared by the Sonia Gandhi-headed National Advisory Council.

Meanwhile,the government also expects to be able to steer the insurance Bill through Parliament in the winter session. The insurance Bill which seeks to raise the foreign direct investment ceiling in the insurance sector to 49 per cent has been with the Rajya Sabha since 2008. The Cabinet had approved it again in October 2012. The standing committee on Finance had,however,suggested that the cap should be kept at 26 per cent. The government is now understood to be considering a proposal to raise the FDI cap to 49 per cent without an increase in voting rights. Passage of the Bill is expected to bring additional capital for the insurance sector,and help India finalise free trade pacts with the EU.

(With PTI Inputs)

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