A very tall order. The government has listed 33 legislations to be debated, tabled and passed in just 12 days of the winter session of Parliament starting on Thursday. The constitution bill for the statehood to Telangana does not figure in the list furnished to the leaders at an all-party meeting convened by Speaker Meira Kumar on Tuesday, to ensure smooth functioning of Parliament. There is no mention of the Prevention of Communal Violence Bill either, but sources say it may come up in the middle or at the end of session as surprise, keeping in view the opposition from the BJP.
The leaders have criticised the government for convening a short session. Leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj wanted an extended session, to resume working after the Christmas and New Year break.
The session is not going to be smooth, as the Samajwadi Party has threatened to stall Parliament proceedings if the Women’s Reservation Bill and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Bill on quota in job promotion are tabled. Another government ally, BSP, will stall both the Houses if the second bill is delayed any further.
The government’s list include seven bills to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha that have been passed by the Lok Sabha and are set to lapse if the new Lok Sabha is elected. Topping them is the Lokpal Bill followed by the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and regulation of Street Vending) Bill and the Whistle Blowers Protection Bill.
The government is giving top priority to three constitution amendment bills in the Lok Sabha that have been passed by the Rajya Sabha and these are for 33 per cent reservation to women in the Lok Sabha and assemblies, bill for higher judicial appointments and reservation to SCs and STs in the government job promotions.
Ten other bills lined up to be table in the Lok Sabha include the Direct Taxes Code Bill to replace the Income Tax Act, the Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority Bill, the Constitution Amendment Bill to increase women’s reservation in panchayati raj institutions, the Right of Citizens for Time Bound Delivery of foods and Services Bill and the Prevention of Bribery to foreign public officials Bill. The government also wants to push the Insurance Laws (amendment) Bill as also another for providing legality to the National Identification Authority of India.
The government has also indicated bringing the supplementary general budget and railway budget during the session, besides introduction of five other Bills, including one to ratify the land boundary agreement with Bangladesh, another to set up the coal regulatory authority and third to provide electronic delivery of services.