Left, TDP vote against Bill
Parliament adopted the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill, with the Rajya Sabha approving it on Monday. Thus, the way has been paved for overseas companies to set up nuclear reactors in the country.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sat through the debate and even prompted Minister of State for Science and Technology Prithviraj Chavan during his reply. The Left and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) voted against the Bill, while the Treasury Benches joined hands with the others.
A division pressed by the Left saw a difference of 100 votes (subject to final correction).
The Left declined to withdraw its amendments and through voice vote, the House approved the retention of the provisions cleared by the Lok Sabha.
The concurrence between the Congress and the BJP on backing the Bill led to an exchange of bonhomie. Mr. Chavan traced the genesis of the bill to the “good work” done by the National Democratic Alliance government and Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley lauded the government for showing the “flexibility and humility” in listening to the Opposition parties.
Mr. Chavan said the Bill's primary purpose was to ensure prompt payment of compensation to victims in case of an accident and denied that it was meant to serve the interests only of U.S. companies. He acknowledged that this was the government's first attempt at drafting a law as complex as this one and if required, the government would make amendments to the law subsequently.
Sitaram Yechury of the CPI(M), D. Raja of the CPI, V. Maitreyan of the AIADMK, M.V. Mysura Reddy of the TDP, Abani Roy of the Revolutionary Socialist Party and Barun Mukherjee of the All-India Forward Bloc opposed several provisions of the Bill.
The backing came, among others, from Rajniti Prasad of the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Satyavrat Chaturvedi and Rashid Alvi of the Congress, Satish Mishra of the Bahujan Samaj Party and all Nominated Members.