Movement on n-liability law talks indicated

January 13, 2015 12:36 am | Updated November 16, 2021 05:30 pm IST - GANDHINAGAR:

The Hindu reported earlier this month on the nuclear contact group talks between India and the U.S. held to discuss two possible solutions to the nuclear liability law challenge that had held up nuclear plants due to be set up by U.S. companies Hitachi and Westinghouse in Gujarat.

The proposals involve a $242-million general insurance fund for the fallout of any nuclear accident, and the other involved clarifying Section 46 of the liability law, which now doesn’t differentiate between the civil and criminal liability of the suppliers. However, the government will have its task cut out if it intends to make any change to the law itself, as it is likely to be opposed in Parliament.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who had helped with drafting the contentious clauses of the Bill when he was Leader of the Opposition (in the Rajya Sabha), admitted to the difficulties in implementing the law, saying “both the previous [UPA] government and the Opposition share the blame for that equally.”

Senior officials in both New Delhi and Washington have cautioned against any “optimism” over a breakthrough; however, Mr. Kerry’s remarks indicate that there has been some movement.

On climate change issues, Mr. Kerry said the U.S. “is committed to working with India to reach a landmark climate change agreement in Paris [at the climate change conference] at the end of this year.” He also spoke about an agreement on renewable energy that would “help reach 24/7 power to India’s poorest people.”

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