As Congress braces to counter Opposition onslaught on the nuclear liability bill, National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon on Tuesday briefed some senior party leaders on the benefits of the legislation and the necessity for bringing it.
The bill is a key step for operationalisation of Indo-US nuclear deal.
The bill, which provides for compensation in the event of a nuclear mishap and the modalities involved, was slated to be introduced in Lok Sabha yesterday but the government decided against it at the last moment in view of stiff opposition from Left parties, BJP and SP.
These parties have been objecting to the provision under which the liability will be capped at Rs 500 crore and the entire amount would have to be paid by the Indian operator while the foreign supplier would go "scot-free". UPA ally Trinamool Congress is also said to have reservations over the bill.
During the hour long briefing, Menon explained to the Congress leaders the need to introduce the Civil Nuclear Liability Bill. He also apprised them of the advantages of the proposed legislation.
With regard to the Opposition attack over the cap on compensation, Menon told the Congress leaders that the apprehensions were unfounded as there was provision for giving relief at three stages.
Those briefed included Union ministers Kapil Sibal, Pawan Kumar Bansal, Prithviraj Chavan, Congress spokespersons Manish Tewari and Jayanti Natarajan, Rashid Alvi, Sandeep Dikshit, Rajiv Shukla and Mausam Noor. Significantly, most of these Congress leaders interact with media often.