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Bill awaits parliament nod for 25 years

Tuesday July 26, 2011 08:00:47 PM, Sarwar Kashani, IANS

New Delhi: A bill pending since 1987 is among 81 proposed legislative measures awaiting parliamentary nod before being enacted as law, giving an insight into the huge unfinished business that the Indian parliament has piled up for itself.

The bill hanging for almost quarter of century - 10 governments have changed in the meantime with eight new Lok Sabhas elected - is one that seeks changes in the Medical Council of India.

According to data from PRS Legislative Research, the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, was introduced in the Rajya Sabha Aug 26, 1987. It was referred to a joint committee, which submitted its report July 28, 1989, PRS said.

The pendency of bills, some more significant than others, is mainly attributed to most of the business hours lost to protests and subsequent adjournments.

Sample this. Only 12 percent of the March budget session was spent on legislation in the Lok Sabha. In the Rajya Sabha it was even lesser, at six percent, according to PRS.

Of the 34 bills announced by the government in its budget session agenda, only five were passed, apart from financial bills.

Those passed include a bill to make a minor correction - rectifying a clerical error - in the Transfer of Foreign Prisoners Act. The phrase "martial law" was replaced with "military law" in the act.

Other bills passed include one on the merger of the State Bank of Indore with the State Bank of India, one to extend the moratorium on sealing of unauthorised buildings in Delhi and two more altering the name of Oriya language as Odiya and changing the name of the state of Orissa to "Odisha".

Among the important pending bills are the controversial women's reservation bill that seeks to keep aside 33 percent of parliament and state legislature seats for women. This bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha in March 2010 and has not been introduced in the Lok Sabha because of opposition from regional parties in northern India.

Among the pending 81 bills, some 50 have accumulated since 2009. This is because parliament protests over various issues, including price rise and corruption, became more rampant in both the houses.

The government is likely to push some of the important bills in the monsoon session that begins on Aug 1 and will last about 26 days.

But it may not be a smooth sailing for these bills,
with the opposition threatening to raise issues afresh.

Some other significant pending bills are:
- Anti-communal violence bill
- The land acquisition amendment bill
- Goods and services taxes bill
- The pension regulatory authority bill
- Protection of women from sexual harassment at workplace
- The enemy property amendment and validation bill.

(Sarwar Kashani can be contacted at







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