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Debate on Pathak report, deal next week



Special Correspondent

`Parleys with Left on Tribal Rights Bill not over'

There are some differences regarding the cut-off dates for beneficiaries under the Tribal Rights billPieces of legislation likely on Factories Act and Union Territory of Pondicherry Bill

NEW DELHI: In the last week of the monsoon session of Parliament starting Monday, the Lok Sabha will discuss two important issues the report of the Pathak Inquiry Authority on the oil voucher scandal on August 22 and the India-United States civilian nuclear cooperation deal the next day.

``Parliament is also ready to give a hike in salary to all MPs. If this Bill does not come through before September 14, which is not at all likely, MPs' salaries would revert to the old pay of Rs. 4,000 a month," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi said here on Friday. He expressed satisfaction over the manner in which Rajya Sabha MPs had more or less endorsed what Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Thursday in his reply to the debate on the nuclear deal issue in that House.

UPA stand

He insisted that from day one, since July 18 this year, when the joint statement on the nuclear deal was signed by President George Bush of the United States and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the United Progressive Alliance had not changed its stance on the issue.

It was indicated that discussions with the Left parties on the Tribal Rights Bill, the amendment to the Right to Information Act and the Banking Regulation Bill have yet to be completed so there was little chance of these coming through this session.

There were some differences regarding the cut-off dates for beneficiaries under the Tribal Rights Bill as well as policy issues on whether the Bill would also include non-tribals settled in forests.

Pieces of legislation that were likely to come through in the remaining part of the session were the Factories Act, the Union Territory of Pondicherry Bill (seeking to rename the State) and the law relating to transfer and acquisitions in the banking industry.

House committees

By Monday almost all the house committees in Parliament and all the standing committees attached to Ministries would have been re-constituted. Each party has already been advised to give names of its party MPs for these committees, Mr. Dasmunsi said.

He said that the term of some of these committees had expired on August 4 and the matter had assumed urgency. He was hopeful of the process being completed by Monday. Work by standing committees during the inter-session period would, therefore, not suffer.

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