First part of budget session ‘productive’: Govt

First part of budget session 'productive' GovtNEW DELHI: Terming the first part of budget session as “productive”, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu today said government does not stand on prestige on the contentious Land Acquisition Bill on which the entire opposition stood united against it.

Naidu also said the first part of the session has been the most significant and rewarding of the four sessions of Parliament since the Government assumed office in May 2015.

“Parliament has enabled the beginning of a new era of transparent governance in the country by ending government’s discretion in allocation of minerals which has come to be a cesspool of corruption and malpractices,” he said on the passing of Mines and Minerals, and Coal Mines bills replacing respective Ordinances.

“I would rate these two legislations at the top of the major outcomes of the Budget session so far,” he said, adding that passing of the Insurance Bill hiking FDI in insurance sector is the next major outcome. “I thank Congress for their support.”

“I would like to have these two legislations passed unanimously. But our friends in some parties had different ideas. They in effect, wanted us to ask the states if they wanted to end or not the discretion in allocation of minerals and the attendant corruption. I am happy that this contingency has been averted,” he noted.

On the Land Bill, he said it was a collective demand of states who wanted changes in the Land Acquisition Act of 2013 to enable land acquisition with less hurdles and keeping practicality in view like in the case of the number of years after which the land acquired is to be returned to owners if it was not used.

“We have sought to accommodate the views of the states without compromising the interests of land owners and those dependent on lands.

“Let me assure you and political parties that the Government does not stand on prestige in this regard. We have brought some amendments that are all in the interest of farmers so as to take all the parties on board,” he said, hoping that government will decide on the next step with regard to it in due course.

Naidu informed that Lok Sabha has passed 14 Bills while Rajya Sabha cleared 7 and both the Houses passed a set of 7 Bills.

“Productivity of Lok Sabha has been 123.45 pc while Rajya Sabha has worked for 106.79 pc of the scheduled time. Lok Sabha sat beyond the scheduled business hours on 11 days while the Upper House did so on 9 days,” he said. . Naidu further informed that disruption of proceedings have come down and thanked the leaders and members of all parties for it.

He said while the Lok Sabha lost 1 hour 46 minutes due to interruptions, the House functioned for an additional 27 hours 12 minutes. Rajya Sabha has lost 4 hours 21 minutes but made up with an additional 11 hours 41 minutes.

Referring to Ordinances promulgated, he said governments belonging to different parties have issued 637 Ordinances over the years, and “some parties have questioned our Government for doing the same as if it was a crime”.

“The objections raised lacked convictions. While several Ordinances were issued in the past on issues of little consequence, the six Ordinances under discussion were inspired by larger goals,” he said.

On the Land Bill passed by Lok Sabha, Naidu said it will be taken up in Rajya Sabha during the next phase of Budget session and Government welcomes a wider national debate on this issue.

“Any good suggestions that will come out of such a debate will be considered by the Government. The Land Ordinance was a result of collective demand of states for an enabling land acquisition law with less hurdles. The changes made to the Act of 2013 were aimed to benefit farmers, rural areas and the country at large,” he said.

Asserting that the Government is “walking the talk” on black money issue, Naidu said the introduction of the Foreign Incomes and Assets (Imposition of Tax) Bill, 2015 in Lok Sabha today was a historic initiative to address this issue.

The Minister while stressing on the need for a broad consensual approach in Parliament on matters of inclusive socio-economic development, noted that “our country is running against time to catch up with the lost opportunities.

Parliament should prove to be an enabler rather than a play ground for political and obstructionist battles”.

He said 106 members of Lok Sabha and 53 of Rajya Sabha participated in the debate on Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address. In the Lok Sabha, 238 members participated in the debate on Railway Budget while 176 did so on General Budget. The participation in Rajya Sabha was 42 and 52 respectively.

Naidu said “as Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, I am happy with the Budget session so far but there is still scope for improvement”.

He said the first phase of the Budget session has been rewarding on account of the Parliament passing some important legislation with far reaching positive implications, besides presentation of the first full General Budget and Railway Budgets that laid foundations for the much desired rapid economic development with focus on infrastructure development.-PTI

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