The government today was faced with a belligerent Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, which demanded that the Mines and Minerals (Amendment) Bill be sent to a select committee for scrutiny.
Incidentally, the contentious Land Acquisition Bill, passed by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, is likely to meet the same fate in the Upper House.
Only last week, the government had to eat humble pie, after a united Opposition successfully moved an amendment to the President’s address.
There were heated exchanges between the opposition and treasury benches all through the six hours that the House wrangled over the Bill. Minister Narendra Singh Tomar argued that the Bill would help in bringing in greater revenue through auctions for state and hence should be given primacy.
While terming Rajeeve’s amendment as ‘infructuous’, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley himself offered that the government had no objection to the bill being sent to a time-bound select committee.
While the government objected to this citing the ‘urgency’ as the Ordinance would lapse by April 5, the Congress-led Opposition dug in its heels. For over three hours both sides sparred over the technicalities resulting in repeated adjournments over whether the bill or the vote on sending the bill to a select committee should be taken up first.
The bill has already been passed by the Lok Sabha. Leader of the House Arun Jaitley attempted to underscore the ‘urgency’ behind promulgating three ordinances which had been placed before the house as bills – the Mining Bill, the Motor Vehicles Bill and the Coal Mines Bill.
Trinamool congress and BJD spoke in favour of the bill. The congress in opposition had the support of the Left parties, BSP and SP in demanding a select committee.