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Keen to pass mines and coal bills, govt ready to extend session

Keen to pass mines and coal bills, govt ready to extend session



The centre is hoping to pass the coal bill and the mines and minerals bill, almost giving up its hopes for the passage of the land acquisition bill in the face of the Opposition’s stiff resistance.
 
The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs that met on Wednesday morning left it to parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu to seek an extension of the ongoing session, if required, by one or two days, to pass the two bills.

The two Select Committees examining the two bills, submitted their reports on Wednesday.
 
“We will take a call on extension of session on Thursday evening, assessing the status of the bills,” Naidu told reporters. The ongoing half of the Budget session is scheduled to end on March 20 for a month-long break.




The government managers admitted that it does not have the numbers to pass the land bill in the Rajya Sabha. A united Opposition led by Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday marched to Rashtrapati Bhavan to protest against the land ordinance.
 
The government, however, is confident about the numbers for mines and the coal bill as the BJP secured backing from opposition BJD, Trinamool and SP. “We have decided to support the mines bill because the government accepted three changes which we wanted,” Trinamool lawmaker Derek O’Brian told reporters.
 
The Select Committee has recommended two amendments in the mines bill while the Coal Bill has been approved by the other panel. The government is likely to accept the suggestions of the Select Committee on mines bill.
 
The 19-member select committee which examined the Coal Mines (Special Provision) Bill, 2015, did not suggest any modification to the bill.

However, the committee scrutinizing the Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill suggested two amendments and the report carried dissent notes from three members.
 
The mines ministry proposed two amendments to the mines bill, prompting changes by the select committee. The two changes relate to higher royalty contribution to a proposed “district mineral foundation” and protection of rights of Scheduled Castes and tribals.
 
The future course of government action on the land bill was not discussed in the meeting.  A section in the government, however, wants to prorogue the House after the first leg of the session gets over and re-promulgate the ordinance.
 
“If the ordinance is not made into law, national interest would be affected,” said a minister.
 
Naidu, however, slammed the Opposition for its stand on the land bill. “These parties which marched under the leadership of the Congress, will also have to share the sins of the UPA. The Congress has also lost all assembly elections after the Lok Sabha polls. But still, a section of the Opposition wants to be led by the Congress,” he said.

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