Government breaches opposition unity on coal and mines bills

New Delhi,Amita Shah(dna): The government’s floor managers seem to have managed to breach Opposition unity on two pro-reform legislations– coal mines and mines and minerals. The two bills are expected to be taken up in Rajya Sabha on Thursday. However, the government is likely to bring two amendments to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, sources said.

What are amendments suggested?
The first suggestion by the select committee is that the state government, while making rules for District Mining Fund, should do so in consultation with Article 244, which deals with provisions of Fifth and sixth Schedule areas, where local governance and tribal sub-plan need to be involved. The other amendment deals with removing the one-third royalty cap to district mineral fund for those granted lease.

What is the stand of opposition?
Union ministers Arun Jaitley, Venkaiah Naidu, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Piyush Goyal reached out to opposition parties, including SP, BSP, NCP, BJD, AIADMK and JD-U separately on the two bills, arguing that that these would ensure transparency and benefit states. Government sources said most parties, barring the Congress and Left, individually seemed inclined to back the bill, but admitted that their strategy would be known only on the floor of the House. In Rajya Sabha, where the government is in a minority, every vote counts.
The Congress and Left have given dissent notes to the Select Committee. Congress’s Digvijay Singh gave a dissent note as the panel rejected his demand to include issues of labour dues, forest rights of tribals and environment clearances.

Will there be extension of session?
If the two bills are not passed by Friday, the government would extend the first phase of the session by two days on Monday and Tuesday. The decision was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs (CCPA) on Wednesday morning.

Though the bills, replacing ordinances which would lapse on April 5, have been cleared by the Lok Sabha, if amendments are made to them in the Upper House, the bills will have to be referred back to the Lower House. The Rajya Sabha sat late on Wednesday to complete the discussion on budget.

Posted by on March 19, 2015. Filed under Nation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.