A powerful ally with veritable veto powers and a combative Opposition derailed the UPA government’s legislative agenda for the winter session of Parliament.
Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, the second largest United Progressive Alliance constituent, stopped the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill in its tracks when its passage appeared certain with the BJP — the main opposition party — on board.
Banerjee argued the proposed reforms were anti-people and asked for another review. This is the second time this month that she has tripped the government. Pressured by her and the Opposition, the government suspended the implementation of its cabinet decision to allow 51% foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail on December 7.
On the Companies Bill, the government stumbled after the BJP forced it to send the legislation again to the standing committee on finance.
The Opposition also forced the government to defer the Commercial Division of High Courts Bill. But the Copyright (Amendment) Bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha despite resistance from the BJP and the Left.
“The Opposition is blocking key legislations. Further delay will create uncertainties and slow down new generation reforms,” a senior UPA minister said.
There has been no forward movement on the judicial accountability bill and the bill to increase the retirement age of high court judges from 62 to 65. Similarly, the Educational Tribunals Bill and the Seeds Bill are also pending.
The government, however, succeeded in introducing key legislations — lokpal bill and the food security bill — in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.