Debate on Lokpal in first half of session

Studied 187 amendments moved by Opposition: Bansal

The government on Wednesday said it would bring the bill to constitute anti-corruption ombudsman, Lokpal, in the Rajya Sabha during the first part of the current Budget session of Parliament.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister P K Bansal said in Rajya Sabha that the government had studied the 187 amendments moved by the Opposition and the ruling allies in the last session and “formulated our views”. The government would also hold talks with the opposition parties, soon, to ensure early passing of the bill, he said.  

A senior minister said the government was contemplating the move that would help clear the obstacles in the way of its easy passage in Parliament as also dismiss the opposition campaign that Congress was against the measure.

A fresh consultation between the government and the opposition is possible so as to ensure that the anti-graft Bill is passed in the first part of the Budget session.

The government move to take up the Lokpal Bill now amounts to a change in its stand as the minister had earlier said that it would be difficult to take up the bill in the first part of the current Parliament session due to the financial business. Bansal said the Lokpal and the Lokayukta bills had been kept on top of the list of business to be conducted during the Budget session.

Claiming that the UPA government was committed to put in place a “strong mechanism to check corruption,” Bansal said the Opposition should co-operate and be ready to discuss the issue with the government.

Bansal said the motion of thanks to the President’s address would be taken up first, followed by the passing of General and Rail Budget. The Lokpal Bill would be taken up thereafter, he said.

Earlier, BJP leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley countered Bansal saying the government did not deem it necessary to hold consultations for the past two-and-half months.

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