Even as the Congress Core Group met here on Friday to discuss the floor strategy to get the remaining anti-graft Bills through Parliament next month, Union Law Minister Kapil Sibal, who is not a member of the Core Group, briefed its members on the legal ramifications of the coal blocks allocation issue before the government clarifies its stand next week on whether it agrees with the Attorney-General who has suggested de-allocation of the contentious blocks on which work has not yet started.

Stiff opposition

The government, it is learnt, is facing stiff opposition from some of the affected States that include Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Union MoS for Personnel V. Narayanasami, another non-member, was present at the meeting as it is his Ministry that pilots all anti-graft Bills.

The anti-graft Bills that Mr. Gandhi has prioritised and are now on the government’s agenda include the Public Procurement Bill, the Prevention of Corruption Act (Amendment) Bill, the Prevention of Bribery of Foreign Public Officials and Officials of Public International Organisations Bill, the Electronic Delivery of Services Bill, The Right of Citizens for Time-bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievances Bill and the Whistleblowers’ Protection Bill.

Quota for Jats

The discussion on reservation for Jats at the Central level comes in the wake of the Union Cabinet’s decision on December 19 to ask the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) to “expeditiously” take a call on the question on the basis of a proposal emanating from the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. The Cabinet wanted the NCBC to reconsider its earlier decision of 2011 in which it had rejected demands for reservation to the community at the Central level. If the move goes through, Jats from Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarakhand and Bihar will be able to avail themselves of quotas in Central government jobs and central educational institutions.

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