All-party meet fails to salvage GST bill; some other bills may get through

A truce in Parliament following the all-party meeting convened by Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari is expected to pave the way for a substantial portion of pending legislative business being completed in the remaining three days of the Winter Session ending 23 December.

But the all-important goods and services tax (GST) bill is unlikely to see the light of day any soon with the opposition Congress hell-bent on disrupting Parliament.

With only three sittings left next week for the current winter session of Parliament and hardly any legislative business transacted in Rajya Sabha so far, the all-party meeting on Friday raised the prospects of passage of some of the pending bills in the upper house during the remainder of this session.

Hopeful after getting positive signals, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu appealed to the main opposition Congress party to cooperate in passing of the important Bills. "Our appeal to the opposition, mainly to Congress, is that these bills are your bills (proposed during your regime) only. Please support these bills. We can do a lot in the remaining three days (of Parliament session)," he said.

"I think from Monday onwards Parliament will run. As far as Lok Sabha is concerned, it is going on well. Rajya Sabha will also go on... got some indications .... Congress also said they will extend support for passage of some bills. We got positive signals. We are also keen to pass them."

The Business Advisory Committee of the Rajya Sabha has allotted a total of 43-1/2 hours for discussion on a total of 18 bills, which is on the unfinished agenda of the House. Of these, the House is likely to take up The Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Bill, 2015, The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2015, The Atomic Energy (Amendment) Bill,2015, The Appropriation Bills pertaining to Supplementary Demands for Grants (General) for 2015-16 and Excess Demands for Grants (General) for 2012-13, all passed by the Lok Sabha during this session and The Whistle Blower Protection (Amendment)  Bill, 2015, The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2015, passed by the Lok Sabha earlier besides The Child Labour (Protection and Regulation) Amendment Bill,2012, on which the Standing Committee presented its Report in December 2013.

The Rajya Sabha is also likely to discuss next week the role of the governor of Arunachal Pradesh as agreed to by the government at the all-party meeting besides growing intolerance endangering the unity and diversity of the country and prices of essential commodities and food grains.

Lok Sabha during next week will take up The Payment of Bonus (Amendment) Bill, 2015, and The National Waterways (Amendment) Bill, 2015 for which discussion time of two and three hours respectively has been allotted.

Besides, the Lower House will take up short duration discussion on the situation in Nepal and the state of Indo-Nepal relations and resume discussion on Sustainable Development Goals, which was part discussed during the last session.

During the current winter session that commenced on 26 November, the Lok Sabha has passed 12 bills while 6 new bills are under discussion.

The 12 bills passed in the Lok Sabha include -The Carriage by Air (Amendment) Bill, 2015, The Bureau of Indian Standards Bill, 2015, The High Court and the Supreme Court Judges (salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill, 2015, The Indian Trustees (Amendment) Bill, 2015, The Industries (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015, The Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill, 2015, The Atomic Energy (Amendment) Bill, 2015.

The House discussed and voted on supplementary demands and excess demands for grants and the related appropriation bills,including The Sugar Cess (Amendment) Bill, 2015, The Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2015 and The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2015.

All the six new bills introduced relating to arbitration and conciliation, commercial jurisdiction of high courts, atomic energy, payment of bonus to workers, industries and sugar cess were passed by the Lok Sabha.

The Lower House held two-day special discussion on commitment to the Constitution on the occasion of 125th birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar besides taking up issues of intolerance, floods in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, drought situation in the country and price rise.

Three suo-moto statements were made in the house by the concerned ministers regarding the visit of external affairs minister to Islamabad, initiatives relating to road transport and highways for regional connectivity with focus on North-East and climate change.

On the other hand, the Rajya Sabha passed only bill pertaining to negotiable instruments while no new bills were introduced in the House during the ongoing winter session so far.

The Upper House discussed commitment to the Constitution, floods in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh and Indo-Nepal relations. External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj made a suo-moto statement on her visit to Islamabad.