The crucial bill that provides for auctioning of coal may clear the Rajya Sabha hurdle after a Select Committee endorsed it by majority, though some members dissented, but a bill relating to other minerals will have to go back to Lok Sabha because of an amendment suggested by another panel.
The 19-member Select Committee on the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill, 2015 headed by Anil Madhav Dave (BJP) with majority view recommended "enactment of the legislation without any modification".
However, the Select Committee on Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015, headed by Bhupendra Yadav (BJP), suggested redrafting of one clause to make it mandatory for a mineral prospector to pay a percentage of royalty to the District Mineral Fondation for welfare of the local population.
Also, it recommended that state governments should be guided by Constitutional provisions on relating to administration of Scheduled Areas and Tribal Areas.
The two Bills, which have already been cleared by the Lok Sabha, are awaiting assent from the Upper House where the BJP-led NDA does not have adequate numbers.
But the fact that only five members of the Opposition including Congress, CPI-M and DMK have given dissent notes to the Coal Bill was perhaps an indication that other opposition parties including TMC, SP, BJD, AIADMK and BSP may not be strongly opposed to it unlike the Land Bill which many of them are dead set against.
While the Coal Bill looks set to clear the Rajya Sabha hurdle, the Mines and Minerals Bill too may sail through before the Parliament breaks for recess on March 20 if the government incorporates the amendments suggested by the panel.
After Rajya Sabha approval, the Mines bill will have to again go back to Lok Sabha for approval of the amendment.
It is perhaps for this reason that the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs (CCPA) today decided to have two extra sittings on March 23 and 24, if necessary, for considering the the bills come back from Rajya Sabha with amendments.
The two bills seek to replace the Ordinances promulgated in December which would lapse if not enacted before April 5.