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Decision on JPC before Wednesday, says Bansal

Friday February 18, 2011 09:00:24 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: Ahead of parliament's budget session beginning Monday, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said Friday that a decision on forming a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) to probe the irregularities in 2G spectrum allocation will be taken "before Wednesday".

"A decision on a JPC will be taken in the next three or four days. Government is consulting opposition parties on the issue," Bansal told reporters at a pre-session press conference.

He also indicated that a JPC will deal only with 2G spectrum issue and not allegations of corruption related to Commonwealth Games and Adarsh Society, as demanded by the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Bansal said he had held a meeting of whips of various political parties and hoped the session will pass off smoothly. "I had a meeting with chief whips. They assured me of cooperation. Any issue can be taken up with the permission of the chair under relevant rules," he said.

The Nov 9-Dec 13 winter session of parliament was crippled by opposition demands for a JPC to probe the 2G spectrum scam and the government refusing to relent. Not much of the scheduled business could be transacted during the session.

Replying to a volley of questions on the JPC, Bansal said the past precedent has been that a motion is moved for its formation with Lok Sabha approving it and the Rajya Sabha concuring with the move.

He said the motion is moved under Rule 193.

Asked about the composition of the JPC in terms of representation of parties, Bansal said the question was "premature".

He said the Left parties have written to presiding officers of the two houses to treat them as a group for parliamentary purposes.

To a question on the BJP's demand for a JPC on 2G spectrum controversy, scams relating to Commonwealth Games and Adarsh Society in Mumbai, Bansal said the rules provide that "motion deals with one definite issue".

"It is their right to say what they want. It would be inappropriate to say more than this till a decision is taken," he said.

To queries about appearance of ministers before a committee such as the Public Accounts Committee or a JPC, Bansal said the request has to go to the presiding officer.

Speaking on the government business during the session, Bansal said 32 bills have been identified for introduction including the agriculture bio-security bill, the land acquisition (amendment) bill and the rehabilitation and resettlement bill.

Three bills, including the Finance Bill, 2011, have been identified for introduction, consideration and passing.

The seeds bill and prevention of torture bill, the Prasar Bharati amendment bill and the education tribunal bill are among 31 legislations identified for consideration and passing.

The budget session starts Monday with President Pratibha Patil's address to a joint session of both houses of parliament. The pre-budget Economic Survey and the Railway Budget will be presented Feb 25 and the general budget Feb 28.

The session will be conducted in two phases with a recess from March 16 to April 4 and will conclude April 21.

"The session will have 29 sittings, 17 in first half and 12 in the second half. A total of 75 items, including 66 bills, have been identified for being presented during the session," Bansal said.

To queries about the Lokpal bill and the food security bill not finding a mention in the business identified by the government for the budget session, he said that the government was going about the required processes, including inter-ministerial consultations on the Lokpal bill.

He said Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who heads the National Advisory Council, has laid stress on early finalisation of the food security bill and "the government is committed to bring it at the earliest."

On the women's reservation bill, he said efforts would be made to get it passed in the Lok Sabha. The Rajya Sabha has already passed the legislation during the budget session of parliament March last year.






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