After our pressure,nuke bill now ‘India-centric’: BJP

Leaders called the initial draft US-centric and said they were waiting to see the finalprint

Written by Agencies | Published:August 20, 2010 7:19 pm

The BJP on Friday said the government bowed under pressure put by it on the issue of the Nuclear Liability Bill and has changed it from being US-centric to India-centric.

The format in which the Nuclear Liability Bill had come was against national interest. We are happy the government has bowed down under our pressure and has taken steps to uphold the national interest,BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

He added the party was concerned about the understanding reached in the Standing Committee. Directly or indirectly,there was an attempt to shield suppliers.

Prasad said after BJP pressured the government against ignoring national interest,the compensation money was increased,liability of the operator was fixed and most importantly the supplier’s liability was also fixed.

Speaking on the issue,party leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy said the Bill earlier was US-centric but members of the Standing Committee,who are from different political parties,have succeeded in making it India-centric now.

Asked if the party would support the Bill in Parliament after the changes were accepted by the government,Prasad said: We will reserve our comments till we see the fine print.

Under Opposition attack for trying to dilute the provisions of the Nuclear Liability Bill,the government today made certain amendments to strengthen the proposed legislation which was approved by the Union Cabinet,paving the way for its consideration by Parliament.

The Cabinet,at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,approved almost all key recommendations made by the Parliamentary Standing Committee that examined the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill,2010.

Earlier,under Opposition attack for trying to dilute the provisions of the nuclear liability bill,Government made certain amendments to strengthen the proposed legislation which was approved by the Union Cabinet,paving the way for its consideration by Parliament.

The Cabinet,at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,approved almost all the key recommendations made by the Parliamentary Standing Committee that examined the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill,2010.

However,it rejected a recommendation for addition of the word – and — between Clause 17(A) and (B) which talks about nuclear power plant operator right to recourse for compensation from supplier in the event of an accident.

The recommendation for addition of the word had triggered objections from BJP and Left parties which said it would dilute the operator’s right to seek compensation from the supplier.

The committee had recommended that the Clause 17 should be read as – the operator of a nuclear installation shall have the right of recourse where – A,such right is expressly provided for in a contract in writing and B,the nuclear incident has resulted as a consequence of latent or patent defect,supply of sub-standard material,defective equipment or services or from the gross negligence on the part of the supplier of the material,equipment or services.

Instead,the government decided to preface the Clause 17 with the wording that the operator could,after compensating the victims,exercise the right of recourse against the supplier.

This is aimed at addressing the concerns that the BJP and Left had over clubbing of the Clause.

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