N-liabilities bill in Lok Sabha today
The government will introduce the civilian nuclear liability bill in the Lok Sabha on Friday, the last day of the budget session of Parliament.
The Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill, 2010, is likely to be referred to the standing committee on energy, headed by Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.
The decision to introduce the bill was formalised on Thursday evening after Mulayam and RJD’s Lalu Prasad met Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee after the cabinet meeting.
Their support would be crucial in helping the Centre work up the numbers in the Lok Sabha should there be opposition during the bill’s introduction.
Though all concerned were tightlipped about the meeting, Mukherjee was seen going out to confer with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh while Mulayam and Lalu waited in his room.
The bill proposes a national liability cap of 300 million special drawing rights (around 468 million dollars or Rs 2,100 crore) and a cap of Rs 500 crore on the power plant operator.
The government had wanted to introduce the bill on March 15 but was forced to withdraw it in the wake of fierce opposition by the BJP and the Left parties. It also did not have enough members in the Lok Sabha that day to counter the opposition if the latter sought a division in the House.
Since then, the government has been trying to build a political consensus on the issue.
The Opposition parties claim the bill limited compensation for nuclear accident victims.