Govt mulls a joint sitting to fast-track crucial pending bills

Hindustan Times of India, December 14, 2014

As the opposition parties looked eager to scuttle the proceedings in Parliament for the reaming part of the Winter Session, the government was learnt to be weighing its options, including a joint sitting of Parliament to push through bills that are crucial to its endeavour to bring the economy back on high growth trajectory.

While the government managed to get the Coal Mines Bill passed by the Lok Sabha, it was apprehensive of the opposition parties? attempt to block it in the Rajya Sabha, which could further delay the auctioning of coal blocks and hit the power sector.

Although the government went an extra mile to accommodate the Congress? concerns on the Insurance Bill, the left and other opposition parties were said to be trying to get the Congress to oppose it.

The government has lined up many bills for discussion and passage in this session of Parliament but the opposition so far remained unrelenting, repeatedly disrupted the proceedings in both houses on one issue or the other.

Citing all this, a senior minister told HT, ?We may have to think of a joint session.? He, however, clarified that the government would take a final call on this only after seeing the opposition?s conduct in Parliament next week.

While the ruling NDA has a majority in the Lok Sabha, it has to depend on opposition parties to push any bill in the Upper House. The government could resort to a joint sitting of the two Houses in which it will have the requisite numbers to pass crucial bills.

Senior ministers and the BJP?s floor managers were also burning the midnight oil trying to convince Congress to work for larger national interest of getting used by some smaller parties.