The UPA-2 government has irked some members of the Sonia Gandhi headed National Advisory Council (NAC) with its intention to introduce three key social sector legislations in the budget session of Parliament, starting from Monday, without waiting for the council’s recommendations.
The government has declared its intention to introduce 32 legislations in the budget session including bills on communal violence, land acquisition, now known as Resettlement and Rehabilitation (RR) Bill and mines and mineral development.
“The government referred these (three) bills to the NAC and is now directly introducing them in Parliament. This is very disappointing behaviour,” said a NAC member, who was not willing to be quoted.
Another member, who heads a working group, said the government could have waited for the NAC’s final recommendations as these bills are pending for years. The Communal Violence Bill was first introduced in Parliament in 2005 and then withdrawn. The RR Bill is doing rounds since UPA-1 days.
“What is the hurry?” he asked.
While on communal violence bill, a working group headed by Farah Naqvi had formulated its draft recommendations, NAC member NC Saxena’s note on RR Bill is likely to be considered at the next NAC meet on February 26.
The council is yet to formulate its opinion on mines bill, which has been opposed by industry bodies such as the Confederation of Indian Industry for stipulating 26% of a company’s profit, engaged in mining, for development of locals. The mines ministry had drafted Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Bill, 2011, which will be considered by a GoM headed by finance minister Pranab Mukerjee before its likely introduction in second half of budget session.
A senior a government functionary in the parliamentary affairs ministry says there is no reason for the NAC members to worry. “Their (NAC) recommendations can be incorporated at the time of passage of these bills,” he said. There is a precedent with government introducing over 50 amendments in the RTI Act, as suggested by the NAC, at the time of its passage of the bill in May 2005.
But the government has made it clear that the bill on proposed National Food Security law will not be introduced in Parliament, as there are differences between the NAC and the government on its ambit.