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Lokpal, food security bill in government agenda for winter session

Wednesday November 16, 2011 10:06:47 PM, IANS

New Delhi: The government Wednesday said it is determined to pass the Lokpal bill as it unveiled its legislative agenda for the winter session of parliament that includes whistle blower protection bill, judicial standards and accountability bill and food security bill.

Talking to mediapersons, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said the session, starting Nov 22, will have 21 sittings.

He said the government was keen to pass the Lokpal bill.

"Government is determined to pass the (Lokpal) Bill... Government stands committed to root out corruption. It may not be done through one law," Bansal said.

He hoped the parliamentary standing committee examining the bill will be able to submit its report by Dec 1.

Anna Hazare has threatened to go on a hunger strike again if the government does not pass the bill in the winter session. Hazare's hunger strike for a strong Lokpal in April and August this year made the government agree to his demands.

Bansal said apart from 31 bills for consideration and passing, 23 bills had been listed for introduction.

The bills listed for introduction include food security bill, prevention of money laundering amendment bill, electronic delivery of services bill, consumer protection amendment bill, biotechnology regulatory authority of India bill, companies bill and north eastern areas (reorganisation) amendment bill.

Bansal said citizens right to grievance redress bill, which is being given final shape by the government, is also likely to be introduced in the winter session. The grievance redress bill aims at checking graft in lower levels of administration and sets standards for time-bound public service from panchayats to government departments.

Bansal said he also met chief whips of all political parties to discuss the issues they wanted to take up during the session.

"Political parties want to discuss issues like price rise, black money, division of states, energy security, corruption, situation in Afghanistan, earthquake in Sikkim and also issues concerning the farmers," he added.

"Government is ready to discuss all issues," he said.

The bills intended to be taken up for consideration and passing during the winter session include women's reservation bill, seeds bill, pesticide management bill, pension fund regulatory and development bill, educational tribunals bill, Prasar Bharti amendment bill.

The financial business includes supplementary demands for grants (general) and (railways) for 2011-12.

Bansal said he had urged the opposition parties to cooperate in running of parliament and not cause disruptions. He said there was concern in the meeting of chief whips that question hour should not be disrupted.

Bansal said that significant legislative agenda had been listed for winter session and hoped that at least two bills will be passed each day.

Asked about the land acquisition bill, Bansal said it had been referred to the standing committee.

"If any bill is ready and government is able to finalise its mind, it will be taken up," he said.

Bansal said the government was of the view that Lokpal bill cannot be an all-encompassing bill and a slew of measures were required to fight corruption.
He said a single bill will lead to "huge bureaucracy" and it will not serve the purpose.

The winter session is scheduled to end Dec 21.





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