Consensus on N-liability bill in sight?

The nuclear liability bill is likely to be tabled in Parliament on Wednesday.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: The nuclear liability bill, which has become a sticking point between the UPA government and the BJP-led Opposition, is likely to be tabled in Parliament on Wednesday, T Subbirami Reddy said on Tuesday.

Reddy is the chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, which is examining the nuclear liability bill.

Reddy said he was confident of a consensus in Parliament on the bill, as the issues have been discussed extensively in the Standing Committee meetings.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee too has held parleys with leading Opposition over the contentious issues.

Reddy said there has been an agreement on several amendments to be made to the original bill, and that supplier’s liability – one of the sticking points – will be mentioned in the bill.

He also indicated that compensation cap, in case of any disaster, is also likely to be increased.

According to Reddy, the Committee has had 24 sittings in the past 12 days, highlighting the importance of the bill and urgency of the matter.

He conceded that the Left had reservations on one or two points, but expressed confidence that those will be addressed too.

Both the BJP and Left parties have opposed the nuclear liability bill in its present form. The bill was referred to the Standing Committee after its introduction in the Lok Sabha in the Budget Session of Parliament.

The Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill, 2010, seeks to create a mechanism for compensating victims of nuclear damage arising from a nuclear accident.

The bill fixes no-fault liability on operators and gives them a right to recourse. It presently caps the liability of operator at Rs 500 crore and makes the Central government liable for damage exceeding this amount up to 300 million SDR.

The passage of the legislation is crucial to implementing the landmark India-US civil nuclear deal.

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