Only 12 working days,Oppn wants winter session extended

Govt lines up 38 Bills for passage.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: December 4, 2013 12:31:01 am

The short winter session of Parliament from December 5 to 20 may be extended into January following a unanimous demand from the opposition. The two Houses normally sit for a month in winter.

“There is unanimity among parties for extending the session after a one-week Christmas-break,” Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said after a meeting of floor leaders convened by Speaker Meira Kumar on Tuesday.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said a decision will be taken after consulting Rajya Sabha members as well as MPs from the Northeast and the south. He said there was a consensus at the meeting that the session was “too short”. The opposition argued the session had only 12 working days,of which three were Fridays meant for private members’ business.

While the government has lined up 38 bills for passage,the highlight is likely to be the Bill aimed at creating Telangana. “Our government is committed to the formation of Telangana and it will be our effort to make full use of due process of law to ensure that Telangana does come about,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told reporters after attending a post-meeting lunch hosted by the Speaker.

As of now,the Telangana Bill does not figure in the agenda outlined by the government for the session. “We had told the government at a meeting last night also that the Telangana Bill must be brought in the session,” Swaraj said.

The Prime Minister said the government was in touch with opposition parties for a smooth passage of essential bills. Finance Minister P Chidambaram is likely to meet Swaraj and her Rajya Sabha counterpart Arun Jaitley soon to discuss the Insurance Bill and Direct Tax Code. The BJP is opposed to the government’s plan to increase the FDI cap in insurance from 26 to 49 per cent.

Swaraj flagged two other issues,Muzaffarnagar riots and rising sexual crimes against women,which the BJP wanted to discuss. She said the opposition also wanted a discussion on the report and functioning of the JPC on 2G spectrum allocation scam.

The opposition has sought a debate on inflation too. “The Left would move an adjournment motion on price rise on the very first day,” CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta said.

Regarding the Women’s Reservation Bill,the Speaker said there was an increasing demand for its passage. The Bill awaits introduction in the Lok Sabha after having been passed by the Rajya Sabha.

The Lokpal Bill has been passed by the Lok Sabha,but is pending in the Rajya Sabha. It needs a fresh clearance by the Lok Sabha after an amended version is passed by the Rajya Sabha.

BSP chief Mayawati is likely to push the the Bill for SC/ST reservations in promotions,which faces opposition from the SP.

BJP slams Communal Violence Bill,says attempt to polarise country



The BJP on Tuesday strongly objected to the fresh push by the Ministry of Home Affairs to the Communal Violence Bill and said the move was an attempt by the Congress-led government to “polarise the country on communal lines” ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

The Bill also faced opposition from resepresentatives of non-Congress ruled states at a meeting called by the ministry here on Tuesday.

“It appears that on the eve of the Lok Sabha elections,in order to polarise the country on communal lines,the MHA has again written a letter to the state governments enclosing therewith revised draft of the Bill. There hasn’t so far been adequate consultation with the stakeholders,” senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley said voicing the party’s objections.

He praised AIADMK chief and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa for promptly opposing the Bill in writing. “Even though the draft Bill has not been made public yet,the Tamil Nadu CM has done well to initiate a public debate on this issue. Her views appear to be logical,reasonable and in consonance with the federal structure of the Constitution,” Jaitley said. He said Jayalalithaa has “written a detailed letter to the PM voicing her strong opposition to this draft” circulated by the MHA to various state governments.

With the Bill,which aims at protecting minorities from targeted attacks,facing stiff opposition from BJP and non-Congress governments,Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami on Tuesday held a meeting with home secretaries of all states to build a consensus. Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has directed to expedite the Bill in order to bring it before the winter session.

At the meeting,representatives of West Bengal,Tamil Nadu,Gujarat,Madhya Pradesh and Orissa were learnt to have strongly opposed the revised draft of the Bill.

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