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Storm expected in monsoon session, Government likely to put off land bill

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New Delhi: The monsoon session of parliament is expected to be stormy, which is why the government is likely to put off the controversial land bill this time, sources said on Sunday.

The joint parliamentary committee – which was supposed to table its report on the first day of the monsoon session on Tuesday – is set to seek an extension of two more weeks to finalize the report, the sources said.

“The report will not come immediately… while any final decision will depend on when the report is tabled, the bill is unlikely to be taken up in this session,” a Bharatiya Janata Party leader said.

With the 19-day session expected to see an uproar over issues ranging from the Vyapam scam to the Lalit Modi controversy, sources said there was a feeling that the land bill will only increase troubles for the government.

With little hope of getting it passed, the government is rather focusing on re-promulgating the ordinance for the fourth time.

The opposition Congress sent out a warning on Sunday, saying the government must make “scam-accused” ministers resign if it wants to get bills passed.

“Hope Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi announces resignations of scam-accused ministers… Passing bills would become very easy,” Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said on Sunday.

The list of government business, according to sources, has 35 items, including nine bills pending in the Rajya Sabha and four in the Lok Sabha.

Besides, 11 new bills are to be introduced, as per the government’s plan.

Bills pending in the Lok Sabha include the land bill, the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2014, the Delhi High Court (Amendment) Bill, 2015, and the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2014.

Crucial among the nine bills pending in the Rajya Sabha are those related to GST, the Whistle Blower Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2015, the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013, and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2015.

The new bills which the government plans to introduce include the Consumer Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2015, for changes in consumer protection laws; Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2015, to settle commercial disputes outside courts; the High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Services), which seeks to redress their long-pending demand of high court judges of one rank one pension.

(IANS)

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Oli Assures Modi, Nepal’s Territory Won’t Be Used Against India’s Interests

After assuming office in February, Oli made his first foreign visit to India in April.

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Gokhale said that Modi's two-day visit to Nepal was aimed to strengthen bilateral relations
KP Sharma Oli, PM of Nepal, wikimedia commons

Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli has told his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi that Nepal’s territory will not be used against New Delhi’s interests, Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said here on Saturday.

“Oli reiterated that they will be sensitive to our concerns and their territory will not be allowed to be used by anybody against India. Prime Minister Modi reciprocated the sentiments,” Gokhale told the media.

Gokhale called Oli’s view “very significant”.

There was a chill in India-Nepal ties during Oli’s earlier stint as Prime Minister between October 2015 and August 2016 when a border blockade blamed on New Delhi crippled Nepal’s economy.

There were also perceptions that Oli was leaning towards China than India.

Gokhale said that Modi’s two-day visit to Nepal was aimed to strengthen bilateral relations “whether it be cross-border electricity or cross-border connectivity”.

“We are looking into cross-border electricity and cross-border connectivity not only with Nepal but other neighbouring countries as well,” he said.

After assuming office in February, Oli made his first foreign visit to India in April.

Stating that India welcomed the restoration of democracy in Nepal, Gokhale said that both the government and the opposition in the Himalayan nation were parties to it.

He said both sides agreed to be committed towards the stated projects. “We will address this within a set timeline.”

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi stressed on the importance of service to others in his last Mann Ki Baat edition for 2017.
Modi is on Nepal visit for two days, wikimedia commons

According to Gokhale, Oli confirmed to Modi that Nepal will host the the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) summit this year.

Bimstec comprises seven countries lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal — Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Gokhale also said that Modi’s visits to cultural sites in Nepal “suggested that there should be strong people-to-people ties”.

Apart from offering prayers at temples in Nepal, the Indian leader inaugurated the Janakpur-Ayodhya bus service, a 900 MW hydropower project and announced Rs 100-crore aid to develop Janakpur city.

Also Read: Water Crisis is Increasing in Cape Town, Red Alert For Africa 

He also held extensive discussions with Oli, President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and other government officials to better bilateral ties after which he said: “All misunderstandings with Nepal are over.”

Modi also met leaders of opposition parties, starting with former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and other members of the Nepali Congress.

He exchanged views on strengthening bilateral ties with former Prime Minister and Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”. (IANS)