Government might call joint sessions of Parliament to pass important bills

The Economic Times, February 17, 2015

BJP has decided not to let the shadow of Delhi poll debacle fall on the budget session of Parliament and will counter the Opposition with equal aggression to get important legislations, such as the Insurance Bill and Coal Mining Allocation Bill, passed and is not averse to convening a Joint Session to overcome the shortage of numbers in the Rajya Sabha.

The NDA government has got broad indications from the opposition parties that it would not be a smooth sailing for it in the budget session beginning on February 23. The Narendra Modi dispensation had faced a tough time in the winter session and had to pass as many as eight ordinances after the session ended as Congress, Left parties, TMC and a host of regional parties had not allowed the Rajya Sabha to take up the legislative business.

“The government is firm and will take all necessary measures to get its Bills passed. It is clear that NDA will not get a majority in the Rajya Sabha in the near future. I think the Opposition should also be made to realise that the government means business and will have its way even if its political opponents do not cooperate,” a Cabinet minister told ET. Passage of the general and rail budget and other financial Bills would not be an issue as NDA enjoys a robust majority in the Lok Sabha.

Only approval of the Lower House matters in the case of money Bills. “Efforts are on to get the opposition parties on board on the Bill to increase the FDI limit in insurance sector from 26 to 49%. We had agreed to the opposition demand for sending it to a Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha. The panel had even included the points that Congress wanted to be incorporated in the Amendment Bill,” the minister said.

A Joint session on the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill can be brought only after it is put to vote and fails to get the nod of the Rajya Sabha. The Land Acquisition Amendment Bill ? which has run into controversies as Congress and Left parties have alleged it is anti farmer ? is also pending. President Pranab Mukherjee had approved an ordinance on the issue, but only after questioning the urgency.

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