Keen to push through bills, govt ready to give opposition its say in House

Times of India, December 01, 2014

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi keen that Parliament should run and government business is not disrupted so that legislations can be pushed, parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu has assured opposition parties that all matters they want raised in the House will be accommodated during the winter session.

The government has listed the textile undertakings (nationalisation) bill to replace an ordinance for Monday’s business, and also plans to bring the coal mines allocation bill to replace an ordinance. Others bills on the agenda this week include an anti-hijacking bill that has death penalty for hijackers, bills relating to repeal of antiquated laws and legislative councils of Tamil Nadu and Assam and the School of Planning and Architecture Bill.

The government feels that by giving space to the opposition in Parliament, it would be easier to take them along and pass the legislations that it has prioritised for this session. Also, with Modi keen on creating the perception that Parliament functions properly and conducts its business in order, Naidu and his two new deputies have been working overtime to accommodate opposition demands.

Allowing discussions demanded by opposition parties on black money and MNREGA and making suo moto statements on Indian hostages in Iraq and the WTO talks was part of that exercise last week. On the same lines, the government has agreed to discuss riots in the country this week among other issues that the parties want to raise.

As part of the government’s efforts to accommodate opposition demands, Naidu told the business advisory committees of both Houses and its floor managers that within the allocated time on each bill or issue for discussion, opposition and other parties may be given more time than entitled.

The government has also agreed that every week, one calling attention motion and one short duration discussion on issues of urgent and public importance will be taken up in both Houses, thereby giving clarity to the work schedules. Lok Sabha passed five bills and Rajya Sabha two bills last week including two labour law reform bills.

Legislative business also proposed for this week include the Merchant Shipping (Amendment) Bill, 2013, the Merchant Shipping (Second Amendment) Bill, 2013 and Supplementary Demands for Grants and concerned Appropriation Bill. Besides, Rajya Sabha will take up for passing the Indian Institutes of Information Technology Bill and the Constitution Scheduled Castes Order (Amendment) Bill, 2014 and the Central Universities (Amendment) Bill.

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