Govt firm on passing Lokpal Bill

Panel report expected by month-end; Rahul demand may also be looked into

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said the government would have an “open mind” and give a “very serious thought” to the report of the Standing Committee,  examining the bill.

“It is a priority bill for the government. We are determined to pass it,” the minister  said when asked whether the Lokpal Bill would be passed in the Winter Session. Addressing a press conference ahead of the session here, the minister said he expected the Standing Committee headed by Abhishek Singhvi to submit its report by month-end, even though it had been given a time limit till December 7.

Bansal said that if the Committee agreed, there could be a separate bill for giving constitutional status to the Lokpal, a demand made by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
The minister said passage  of  pending bills would be the top priority of the government during the session. Bansal said subject to the exigencies of the government business, the session would  conclude on December 21. The session will provide 21 sittings spread over a period of 30 days.  It  will mainly be devoted to essential government legislative and other business, including financial business relating to Supplementary Demands for Grants for the year 2011-12 in respect of General Budget and Railway Budget.

In the pipeline

Several bills are in the pi­p­e­line for parliamentary approval including the Lokpal, The Public Interest Disclosure and Protection to Persons Making the Disclosures Bill, 2010, the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, 2010 to lay down judicial standards, the Damodar Valley Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2011, The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill, 2011. The session may also witness  amendment  to the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2005 to provide for the establishment of educational tribunals for effective and expeditious adjudication of disputes involving teachers and other stakeholders and to adjudicate penalties for indulging in unfair practices in higher education.

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