In­dia govt de­fi­ant amid par­lia­ment deadlock

The Pak Banker - - 6international -

NEW DELHI: In­dia's em­bat­tled coali­tion govern­ment on Thurs­day rammed an­other spend­ing bill through par­lia­ment in de­fi­ance of a deadlock over cor­rup­tion scan­dals that has slowed the pas­sage of ma­jor re­form leg­is­la­tion.

Prime Min­is­ter Man­mo­han Singh's govern­ment voted through a bill for $227 mil­lion ad­di­tional spend­ing for the rail­ways amid loud shout­ing from op­po­si­tion law­mak­ers the likes of which has stalled de­bate and shut down par­lia­ment daily for three weeks.

It was the sec­ond day run­ning in which the govern­ment has pushed through bills, over­rid­ing op­po­si­tion at­tempts to halt the par­lia­men­tary ses­sions.

The op­po­si­tion wants a joint in­quiry into an al­leged tele­coms li­cense scan­dal that may have cost In­dia $39 bil­lion in po­ten­tial rev­enue loss, trig­gered the sack­ing of Tele­coms Min­is­ter Andimuthu Raja and raised ques­tions over Singh's judg­ment.

It is one of sev­eral scan­dals that has rocked the Congress party-led coali­tion in the last month, in­clud­ing the ar­rest of eight ex­ec­u­tives from the pri­vate and state sec­tor over a bribes for loans scam.

The Congress party in­sists it will let par­lia­ment run the full course of the win­ter ses­sion that ends on De­cem­ber 13, though it will likely have a tougher time achiev­ing progress on more con­tro­ver­sial, and eco­nom­i­cally key, bills such as over land re­forms or a min­ing.

"There is no change in the sit­u­a­tion, the deadlock con­tin­ues," said Par­lia­men­tary Af­fairs Min­is­ter Pawan Bansal. "There is no chance of ad­journ­ing the house be­fore De­cem­ber 13."

The last two ad­di­tional spend­ing bills have been passed by a voice vote, a pro­ce­dure that has al­lowed the govern­ment to get around a three­week stale­mate be­tween the govern­ment and op­po­si­tion par­ties, spear­headed by the Hindu na­tion­al­ist Bharatiya Janata Party. Moves to push through spend­ing bills demon­strate a tough­en­ing of the govern­ment's stance af­ter ef­forts to come to a com­pro­mise by a key deal­maker for the Congress, Fi­nance Min­is­ter Pranab Mukher­jee, proved fruit­less.

The govern­ment feels a wider par­lia­men­tary probe into cor­rup­tion would be seen as weak­ness, and would give the op­po­si­tion ex­tra po­lit­i­cal am­mu­ni­tion. The move to push through bills may also sig­nal govern­ment strat­egy to pass other bills still pend­ing by voice vot­ing dur­ing the rest of the cur­rent ses­sion. But the bills passed so far have been un­con­tro­ver­sial spend­ing bills that are cru­cial to the govern­ment's abil­ity to func­tion and were never se­ri­ously un­der threat of be­ing thrown out by the op­po­si­tion. But se­nior Congress party fig­ures in pri­vate say they are un­cer­tain whether such po­ten­tially di­vi­sive leg­is­la­tion could be passed in the cur­rent ses­sion amid the deadlock. -Reuters

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.