N-bill won’t promote US interests: PM
Manmohan Singh has intervened in the nuclear liability bill debate in the Lok Sabha.
New Delhi: Intervening in the debate on the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damages Bill, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Wednesday that the bill will not protect American interests.
“To say that this Bill is aimed at advancing US interest
is far from truth; and history will be the judge,” Singh told the Lok Sabha after Jaswant Singh said special provisions were made in the bill to protect US interests.
He said such charges against him were not new as he had
faced these even in 1992 when he presented the Budget as the
then Finance Minister.
Pointing out that senior BJP leader L K Advani was aware
of it, Singh said the whole opposition, with a few exceptions,
demanded his impeachment claiming that the budget had been
prepared in the US.
"To say we have anyway compromised India`s national
interest will be a travesty of facts," Singh said apparently
addressing the Left parties which have alleged that the bill
had been drafted to suit American companies.
"History will be the judge," the Prime Minister said as
he pointed to the economic reforms initiated in 1991 when he
was the Finance Minister.
“I categorically state that this bill is a completion of
journey to end the nuclear apartheid which the world had
imposed on India. We have pursued it with zeal but the process began in 1999,” he pointed out, adding that country’s scientists had approved of this law back then.
He said that India had an independent atomic regulator and it had been successful in preventing any nuclear disasters in all these years.
“But still, we will further strengthen the nuclear regulatory board. Nuclear security is our prime concern,” he said.
Singh appealed to the House to pass the bill with unanimity as India could not afford to look at the alternatives in the power sector.
“Development means creating more opportunities for the country and that is what our government is doing,” he said.
Referring to questions as to whether nuclear power is a
viable option, the Prime Minister said it is the preferred
option as it is clean.
Government today dropped a
controversial amendment to a contentious clause on the
liability of suppliers in case of accident in the civil
nuclear damages bill, virtually adopting an amendment moved by
the Opposition BJP in a bid to evolve a consensus on the
The bill was later passed by the Lok Sabha.