N-bill: Govt ready for floor test

The government is prepared for a floor test on the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill but it is unlikely to be passed without a deal with either the BJP or the Mandalite parties on Wednesday.

Well-placed sources in the NDA on Tuesday night indicated that the bill would be passed as the government is “willing” to accept an amendment to be moved by the BJP in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday. Before that, senior leaders of the main Opposition, including Mr L.K. Advani, Leader of the Opposition in the RS Arun Jaitley and others will meet at 10 am.
The picture is becoming clear on Tuesday. While the political parties reiterated their “stated positions” on the bill, the government and the NDA leaders were seen optimistic about a solution. The government has assured Opposition leaders once again that it is “open” to consider their suggestions with some riders.
The bill has been listed in the revised list of business of the Lok Sabha for “consideration and passing”. Science and technology minister Prithviraj Chavan will move the bill to provide for civil liability for nuclear damage, appointment of claims commissioner, establishment of nuclear damage claims commission and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto, be taken into consideration.
The other option for the government of passing the bill is to seek help from the SP, BSP and RJD.
The Left and the TDP would oppose the bill if their concerns are not addressed by the government. The Sharad Pawar-led NCP, a key partner in the government, said that the bill should be passed by taking the Opposition parties into confidence. “We are in favour of passage of the bill by taking the Opposition in confidence,” NCP general secretary D.P. Tripathi told reporters.
Meanwhile, LS Speaker Meira Kumar has convened a meeting of leaders of all parties on Wednesday to discuss smooth conduct of the House. The meeting assumes significance in the context of the government’s plans to get the bill passed before the end of the session ahead of US President Barack Obama’s visit to India in November this year.
Ms Kumar, who also expressed deep disenchantment with the mock session held by opposition MPs, notably RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, SP leader Mulayam Singh and BJP leader Gopinath Munde, is expected to seek the cooperation of the parties to ensure smooth conduct of business in the remaining period of the session.
While the Rajya Sabha session has been extended by two days to August 31, there is no word on the Lok Sabha.

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