Amid protest from allies and Opposition, the Centre introduced two bills to replace — Coal Ordinances that allows auctioning of mining leases and the Citizenship Ordinance — in Lok Sabha on Monday.
The day also saw the lower house approving a bill to replace the Citizenship Ordinance for relaxing norms for overseas citizenship card. This is the first of the six Ordinances listed to be passed by either house of Parliament.
The Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill 2015 provides for the auction and allocation of coal mines through a transparent bidding process.
The Ordinance had been promulgated for the second time after it was not approved by Parliament in the winter session. The Ordinance was for auction and allocation of coal blocks following the Supreme Court’s cancellation of 214 allotments made between 1993 and 2010.
The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Bill provided for a similar auction mode for mining prospecting leases across India and aims to amend the law of 1957. The government has already identified 199 mines for auction and the bill is slated for approval in lower house, where the BJP has majority, on Tuesday.
Congress claimed that the coal Ordinance aims to undo the Coal Nationalisation Act as it allows private players in the mining sector. Trinamool Congress also supported the Opposition stand.
Coal minister Piyush Goyal, however, allayed the fears and said that the coal Ordinance will result in higher income for the states and that the measure was necessary to prevent shutting down of power plants due to shortage of coal.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2015 that seeks to remove disparity between Persons of Indian Origin cardholders and Overseas Citizens of India cardholders was approved in the Lok Sabha.
Home minister Rajnath Singh said Ordinance was promulgated to amend the Citizenship Act as Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given a commitment in the US and Australia that the two cards will be merged.