Nuclear liability bill sails through RS with BJP backing

The Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill, 2010 sailed through the Rajya Sabha today thanks to the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party's support, even though the Left parties continued to oppose it. With this, the bill now only awaits the president's assent before becoming law.

Extending support to the bill, BJP on Monday asked the government not to be carried away by "phoney campaign" that no global supplier would be coming to India with the proposed law fixing the suppliers' liability in the event of the nuclear mishap.

Initiating a debate on the Bill which was passed by the Lok Sabha, leader of opposition Arun Jaitley said in the Rajya Sabha that the government should not be "apologetic" about inserting a clause making supplier along with operator liable for any nuclear incident.

Referring to recent reports that reactor supplier from several countries would not be interested to come to India, he described it as "phoney campaign".

Jaitley said when India would go to buy 40 reactors, the character of the global market would change. "It would no longer be sellers' market, but would become a buyers' market. I would urge the government not to be overtaken by this campaign."

He said the inclusion of suppliers' liability would be a feature unique to India and could become a global model. This was what happened in the case of WTO and the global patent regime where India had asserted its position and taken a deviation from what was being sought to be imposed by the Western European countries and the US.