Govt tables TRAI Amendment Bill in Lok Sabha, Congress, TMC protest

By Ritesh K Srivastava | Last Updated: Friday, July 11, 2014 - 14:23

Zee Media Bureau/Ritesh K Srivastava

New Delhi: The BJP government on Friday faced a stiff resistance from Congress and the Trinamool Congress minutes after it tabled in the Parliament the Telecom Regulatory Authority Amendment Bill, which aims at paving way for for the appointment of Nripendra Mishra as the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister.

The Bill was tabled in Rajya Sabha by Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad amid strong protest from the opposition benches.

Members of the Congress and Trinamool Congress raised objections and questioned the NDA government`s intention to change the TRAI Bill, duly approved by the Parliament earlier, to pave way for the appointment of Mishra as PM`s Principal Secretary.

Meanwhile, the Aam Admi Party (AAP) also said that it will oppose the bill to amend the TRAI Act which seeks to remove a legal hurdle in the appointment of former TRAI chairman Nripendra Misra as principal secretary to the Prime Minister.

A senior AAP leader said that the party will oppose the measure as it will "destroy" the neutrality of the telecom regulator.

The ordinance earlier issued in this connection was also unethical," the leader said.

Before tabling the TRAI Bill, which seeks to replace the ordinance, in the House, the ruling BJP issued a whip to its members to support it.

The Bill needs to be amended to allow the appointment of former TRAI chairman Nripendra Misra as principal secretary to Prime Minister. Before the Ordinance was promulgated, the TRAI Act prohibited its chairman and members from taking up any other job in the central or state governments after demitting office.

The new BJP government had recently appointed Mishra as Prime Minister Narendra Modi`s Principal Secretary after President Pranab Mukherjee signed an ordinance that amended Section 5 (8) of the Trai Act of 1997 that barred any member of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) from holding a subsequent government position.
Mishra, a 1967 batch Indian Administrative Service officer from Uttar Pradesh cadre, has served in many departments including TRAI as its Chairman in 2006.

He also worked as the Telecom Secretary under former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran in UPA-1 government led by Congress.

In the 2G scam case, Mishra was regarded to be a crucial witness and was TRAI chairman under former Telecom Minister A Raja.

He has also worked as Secretary in the Department of Fertilisers, Special Secretary in the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Joint Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs and held key positions in Uttar Pradesh.

The Congress had earlier questioned the decision of the NDA government to promulgate an Ordinance to facilitate the appointment.

AICC General secretary Ajay Maken had attacked the BJP by saying, “The same BJP had raised questions on an ordinance for the Food Bill that was to benefit lakhs of people.”

First Published: Friday, July 11, 2014 - 09:31

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