FULL HOUSE: GOVT SET TO BRING UP 57 PENDING BILLS

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TO SUSTAIN healthy economic growth, the government has launched intensive efforts to clear dozens of new laws and amendments to existing laws that are awaiting parliamentary approval. The Securities Contracts (Regulation) Amendment Bill, the Competition (Amendment) Bill, the Drugs (Control) Repeal Bill, the Factories (Amendment) Bill, the Warehousing (Development & Regulation) Bill and the Labour Laws (Exemption) Bill are among the proposals pending before Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha.

All economic ministries and other wings of the government have been urged by the ministry of parliamentary affairs to facilitate smooth clearance of the Bills, highly-placed government sources said. The Budget session is expected to begin on February 23 and the urgency to clear the laws or legal amendments is in view of the huge pile-up in pending business of Parliament at the end of the winter session.
As many as 57 Bills are pending before the two houses of Parliament and more are likely to be introduced during the Budget session. Therefore, the parliamentary affairs secretary has written to all government departments to give details of the Bills in a standard format so that their clearance can be facilitated through follow-up action.

The Forward Contracts (Regulation) Amendment Bill, the Pension Fund Regulatory & Development Authority Bill, the Cable Television Network (Regulation) Amendment Bill, the Information Technology (Amendment) Bill, the State Bank of India (Amendment) Bill, the Merchant Shipping (Amendment) Bill and the Electricity (Amendment) Bill are among the Bills pending in Lok Sabha, the sources said. As many as 27 Bills are pending before the lower house.

Once the Budget is presented on February 28, the government may also have to speed up clearance of the Finance Bill amendments as leaders of key political parties are likely to get busy after announcement of assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. This could even lead to a truncated session, paving the way for clearance of Budget proposals without much discussion.

The Limited Liability Partnership Bill, the Inland Vessels (Amendment) Bill, the Standards of Weights & Measures (Amendment) Bill and the Foreign Trade (Development & Regulation) Amendment Bill are among the other key proposals pending with Rajya Sabha. Clearance of some of the Bills is essential for speeding up decision-making and enabling India Inc to sustain the 9.1% economic growth achieved during 2005-06.

Some Bills have been refereed to standing committees while reports by committees have been submitted in other cases.

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