Parliament passes Mines and Minerals, Coal Mines Bill

Parliament approved two crucial bills, which form part of NDA government's reforms agenda.

Parliament passes Mines and Minerals, Coal Mines Bill

New Delhi: Parliament on Friday approved two crucial bills, which form part of NDA government's reforms agenda, after the opposition unity was broken and a number of non-NDA parties backed the legislations in Rajya Sabha where the ruling coalition is short of numbers.

The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015 and the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill, 2015 got Parliament's approval in the nick of time as today was the last day of the first half of Budget session and the ordinances on these were to lapse on April 5.

The bills, over which the ruling and opposition benches had locked horns, were passed virtually within minutes after a number of non-NDA parties, including those belonging to coal and mineral-bearing states, came to support the government as they expect benefits from these legislations.

Among those supporting the bills were TMC, BJD, NCP, SP, BSP, AIADMK, DMK and JMM, besides allies Shiv Sena and SAD.

The bills had been passed by Lok Sabha earlier this month but in Rajya Sabha these faced strong opposition and had to be sent to two respective Select Committees. The committees gave their reports on Wednesday, leaving only two days for their passage.

The Mines and Minerals Bill was passed by Rajya Sabha with one amendment as recommended by the Select Committee, necessitating its re-passage by Lok Sabha.

The bill was passed after much controversy and procedural wrangling in the Upper House as several parties, barring Congress, Left and JD(U) supported it. JD-U members walked out before the voting saying they did not want to be part of the procedure.

It was passed with 117 members voting in favour and 69 against it. An amendment moved by P Rajeeve (CPI-M) was defeated.

The Coal bill was approved by Rajya Sabha after several amendments moved by the Congress and Left were defeated.

The bill was passed with 107 members voting in favour and 62 against in the Upper 245-member House where the ruling BJP-led coalition is in a minority, indicating that some non-NDA parties back the government.

Lok Sabha had already passed the bill on March 4.

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