Nuclear liability bill tabled in Lok Sabha

Nuclear liability bill tabled in Lok Sabha

"We have brought new amendments to clause 17. We have agreed to the (concerns of) principal opposition party, BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) and the Left parties," Chavan said in the Lok Sabha while introducing the bill. Clause 17 refers to the liability of the suppliers of nuclear installations in case of an accident.

He, however, accepted that the Left parties still had concerns, but pointed out that the bill was not aimed "to please any one country".

The Congress has issued a whip to its members in the Lok Sabha asking them to be present in the house when the nuclear liability bill will be taken up for discussion Wednesday afternoon. "A whip has been issued to members to be present in the house," Congress chief whip in the Lok Sabha Paban Singh Ghatowar told IANS.

Congress sources said the party had also urged its allies in the ruling United Progressive Alliance to ensure the presence of their members in the house during the discussion.

The whip was issued as the Left parties or others may ask for division on the bill. The Left demand would show the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party on the same side of the legislation.

The government has said it is willing to consider modifications suggested by the opposition on the contentious Clause 17 (b) of the bill which deals with liability of the supplier in case of a nuclear accident.  

Minister of State for Science and Technology Prithviraj Chavan had said on Monday that the government was ready to accept provisions of Clause 17 (b) as stated in the original bill, the recommendation of the Standing Committee or the official amendment cleared by the cabinet Friday.

He said the government was also willing to consider any amendment to the clause suggested by the opposition.
The BJP and the Left had objected to the word "intent" in the official amendment approved by the cabinet, saying it diluted the responsibility of the supplier in the event of a nuclear accident.  The Left is also not satisfied with the operator's liability accepted by the government.

Chavan met leaders of political parties, including Arun Jaitley of the BJP, Sitaram Yechury of the Communist Party of India-Marxist and D. Raja of the Communist Party of India over the past two days to convey that the government was willing to consider modifications to Clause 17(b).
He said the government was making efforts to get the bill passed through "broad consensus".

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