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Budget Session to Witness Rush of Reforms

Published: 22nd February 2015 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd February 2015 07:40 AM   |  A+A-

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NEW DELHI:Stung by severe criticism for taking the Ordinance route to unleash economic reforms, the BJP-NDA Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has prepared an elaborate ministry-wise plan to get the important Bills passed in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha during the Budget Session beginning tomorrow.

The detailed note accessed by Express reveals that key reform Bills -- Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill, 2015; Companies Amendment Bill, 2014; Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015; Warehousing Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2015; Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2015; and Land Acquisition Bill, 2015 -- occupy the topmost priority.

bills.JPGThe Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill will replace the Ordinance, which was promulgated by the government in October to facilitate coal block auctions, after the Supreme Court had struck down the allotment of 204 coal blocks. The Centre is also ready with the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill to replace the Ordinance, which was brought in to raise the FDI cap in the insurance sector from 26 per cent to 49 per cent.

The government will also push for the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2015 to replace an Ordinance that was cleared by the Union Cabinet in December to ease land acquisition rules for infrastructure projects. The government had come under heavy criticism after President Pranab Mukherjee had questioned the government’s move and had asked for an explanation before granting assent to the Land Acquisition Ordinance.

The Centre had argued that the states, ministries and stakeholders had been reporting many difficulties in the implementation of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 that had come into effect on January 1, 2014 and amendments were urgently needed to overcome the procedural difficulties in the acquisition of land required for important national projects. In all, the government had issued nine Ordinances to push for its reform measures as promised by Modi during the Lok Sabha election campaign.

According to sources, the NDA Government has marked 11 Bills that will be top priority by the government. The list also includes Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2015 and the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2015 to replace Ordinances promulgated by the Centre. The Union Cabinet had cleared the Citizenship Ordinance, amending the Indian Citizenship Act, to merge the Person of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) schemes to fulfil the promise made by Modi to Indian Diaspora during his historic Madison Square speech in New York. The government had also promulgated the Motor Vehicles Ordinance to grant relief to people and owners of e-rickshaws and e-carts after Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2014 passed by the Lok Sabha on December 18 could not get the Rajya Sabha nod.

The government may also push for Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime by taking up 122nd Constitution Amendment Bill, 2014. The Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 19 to bring in biggest indirect tax reforms that will remove multiplicity of taxes.

The government will also push for Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2015, which envisages certain key amendments in the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, and the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Amendment Bill, 2014 in the Rajya Sabha. The Bill passed by the Lok Sabha during the Winter session will ensure speedy eviction of unauthorised occupants from public premises.

Besides, the government has prepared 14 Bills, though not on the priority list, which may be taken up during the coming session. It includes the Payment and Settlement Systems (Amendment) Bill, 2014, passed by the Lok Sabha and the Delhi High Court (Amendment) Bill, 2014 which proposes transfer of civil suits to district courts in order to ease the workload of Delhi High Court.

The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013 is likely to be brought in during the Budget session but it is not on the priority list. The Centre is likely to push for the Whistleblowers Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2015 to protect the identity of individuals exposing corruption in the system.

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