NEW DELHI: The NDA government on Tuesday scored a victory as it managed to get the contentious Trai Amendment Bill passed in the Rajya Sabha, where it is in the minority, with the support of the TMC, BSP and the SP.
The Bill, passed by the Lok Sabha on Monday, amended the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) Act to enable the appointment of the authority’s former chairman Nripendra Mishra as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Principal Secretary.
Weathering what had seemed just 48 hours ago to be a storm, the NDA government’s floor managers succeeded in getting the Bill cleared through a voice vote by the Upper House too.
The Bill replaced an ordinance issued on May 28 to amend a clause in the Trai Act which had barred Misra from taking up a government job after retirement.
Though the Congress opposed the move, it preferred not to stage a walkout. T Subbirami Reddy of the party moved a statutory resolution to disapprove the ordinance, saying that it was like a ‘Brahmastra’ which should be used rarely. The resolution, however, was dismissed.
Replying to the debate, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the scope of the Bill was very limited and that it was intended to create equality among all regulatory bodies. He said Misra has been chosen for the top post “on the basis of his capacity and talent”. The Law Minister reminded the House that there were 61 ordinances in the last 10 years of the UPA government.
Maintaining that choosing the Principal Secretary is the prerogative of the Prime Minister, BSP leader Mayawati said her party was supporting the Bill. AIADMK leader V Maitreyan echoed her views.
And TMC leader Derek O’Brien said the Prime Minister must have chosen Mishra for his competence. SP member Ram Gopal Yadav also saw no reasons to oppose the Bill.