TRAI Bill okayed: Will NDA math work for contentious Bills in RS?

With the passing of TRAI (Amendment) Bill, the Narendra Modi government has managed a coup in the Rajya Sabha where the NDA government is numerically weak.

Pankaj Sharma/Zee Research Group

With the passing of TRAI (Amendment) Bill, the Narendra Modi government has managed a coup in the Rajya Sabha where the NDA government is numerically weak. But a bigger test awaits Modi government as it pushes for approval to contentious Bills in the Upper House.

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is in Brazil still called the shots on his principal secretary Nripendra Misra’s appointment through passage of the Bill in both the Houses. The government not only brought UPA key ally NCP to its side but also got the support of parties like TMC, AIADMK and BJD for the passage of the Bill.

It is just a start but Modi government’s skills will be tested when Bills like Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill and Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill are brought in the Upper House. The BJP has only 43 members in a House of 243 and with NDA allies, the number goes up to 64 way below the magic figure of 124. In Lok Sabha, NDA has a comfortable majority.
The Insurance bill which raises FDI limit to 49 per cent and allow entry of foreign re-insurers met with strong opposition when Congress coalition proposed the same in 2004. The decision to increase FDI limit from 26 to 49 per cent was also raised during 2008 and 2013 but couldn’t see the light of the day. Now, with NDA falling short on numbers in Rajya Sabha, Modi needs to walk the extra mile to get it cleared.

The passage of bills also depends on its content other than political relations. In the ongoing Budget Session, the government has listed 19 bills. Out of 19, while eight are listed for consideration and passing, six bills are listed for introduction, consideration and passing during the session. Moreover, five new bills are also proposed to be introduced in the session. Most of the bills have been taken from previous UPA regime.

Among the key bills listed for consideration and passing are: Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill 2008, Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill 2013, Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill 2013, Finance Bill, SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill 2014, Security Laws (Amendment) Bill 2014 et al. Barring a few, it appears that most of the parties are on the same page on Bills listed this session.
The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013 which was on Rahul Gandhi’s wish list during the last days of previous government is again listed for passage. Now, with BJP in command, Congress and its allies stand would be interesting to know.

Moreover, the Tamil Nadu Legislative Council (Repeal) Bill, 2012 is likely to face the opposition from DMK in the Rajya Sabha. The Rajasthan Legislative Council Bill, 2013 is likely to see home with both Congress and BJP in favour of it.

The National Institute of Design Bill, 2013 and The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill 2014 have already been passed by both Houses in this session.

But if TRAI Bill passage is any indication, Modi government has shown the resolve to gets the math right in Upper House. In case of lack of numbers, help from parties like AIADMK (11), AITC (12), BJD (7), NCP (6) and INLD (2) can come in handy for Modi government.

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