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Lokpal bill sans Lokayuktas may be in RS on Monday

Source: PTI
May 15, 2012 19:33 IST
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The Lokpal bill is expected to be brought in the Rajya Sabha on Monday with some key amendments including removal of the provisions for setting up of Lokayuktas in states.

The amended bill could come up for clearance at the meeting of the Union Cabinet on Thursday, a senior minister involved in the talks to thrash out the differences, said.

Several opposition parties as also key United Progressive Alliance constituent Trinamool Congress were pressing for dropping the Lokayukta provision altogether from the bill.

The minister, who declined to be identified, said the provision which allowed any citizen to initiate the process of removal of the Lokpal has been done away with and instead 100 members of both Houses of Parliament entrusted with the task.

Government is unsure whether it could ensure the passage of the amended bill in the Lok Sabha once it is approved by the Rajya Sabha due to paucity of time as the budget session is concluding on May 22.

Last night, Minister of state for Personnel, V Narayansamy, who will be piloting the bill, had held a meeting with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and other concerned ministers.

With just a few days left for the budget session, government's intention is to get a dozen odd bills passed in either of the House. They included the Copyright Bill, Central Educational Institutions Bill, Motor Vehicles Act Amendment Bill, Whistleblowers Bill, Judicial Standards and Accountability bill.

An amendment bill to the BSF Act as also another one seeking to raise the age of high court judges from 62 to 65 are unlikely to come up in the current session due to reservations by some opposition parties.

Government sources said that pending economic bills relating to pension, insurance and banking sector reforms are not likely to be taken up in the current session. The other key economic bills awaiting approval of Parliament are Companies Bill and Direct Taxes Code Bill.

As regards the insurance, the Union Cabinet had deferred a decision on the suggestions of the Standing Committee on Finance.

Although bill proposed to increase the foreign direct investment (FDI) cap to 49 per cent from 26 per cent, the committee had opined against it.

While the Companies Bill is seeking to modernize corporate laws by replacing the Companies Act, 1956, the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) Bill is aimed at encouraging private and foreign investment in the pension sector.

As far as DTC is concerned, the government has already received the report of the Standing Committee and has to take a view on the recommendations.

The Banking Bill, which has been pending for long, is aimed at enhancing the voting rights of private shareholders.

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