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Lok Sabha clears Lokpal amendments without discussion

NEW DELHI: The Lok Sabha on Wednesday cleared amendments to the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, without circulating copies of the Bill, pertaining to dilution of Section 44 of the Act dealing with disclosure of assets of those holding positions on the Boards of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).

Minister of State in the PMO Jitendra Singh. File photo

Prime Minister Narendra Modi invokes special powers to approve the Bill that was not earlier presented to the Cabinet

Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Jitendra Singh moved the amendments, which was not listed in the business list for Wednesday, assuring the members that a Standing Committee of Parliament will be looking into the amendments in any case.

“The government is open to the idea of amending the law, and it will also depend on the recommendations of the Standing Committee. NGOs and bureaucrats have been consulted,” he said, while reading out a statement before introducing the amendment.

According to top sources in the government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi invoked Section 12, that empowers the Prime Minister to take an emergency decision that can be approved by the Cabinet ex-facto. “The amendment were cleared without discussion and are likely to come up at the Cabinet meeting to be held on Wednesday evening,” sad a senior government minister.

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), and several members of Parliament, including nominated member Anu Agha and independent MP in the Rajya Sabha Rajeev Chandrashekhar,had raised concerns over the income disclosure clause for trustees and board members of NGOs.

The Bill will now be presented in Rajya Sabha.

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