Govt to turn W's Reservation Bill as a Const amendment Bill

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New Delhi, Feb 24 (UNI) In a move aimed at scuttling the BJP's attempt to rake up the Women's Reservation issue, the Government today said it would take up the matter only as a Constitutional Amendment Bill, thereby capping the demand for introducing a controversial Bill in the Budget Session of Parliament beginning tomorrow.

''We are not in favour of taking up the Women's Reservation Bill as it is, for providing one-third reservation to women in Parliament and state assemblies but intend to take up the matter as a Constitutional Amendment Bill,'' said Parliamentary Affairs Minister P R Dasmunsi at a press conference here today.

The issue of reservation for women was cleared by the Union Cabinet in 1999 and introduction of a Bill in this regard has not been taken up in the past eleven sessions of Parliament.

The issue is still embroiled in the controversy for lack of political consensus on it. A few days ago, the BJP organised an All India Rally of Women in Delhi and brought the women reservation issue again to the centre-stage.

The Minister said the Broadcasting Service Regulating Bill, 2006, will also not be taken up in the Budget Session. However, the government is planning to bring some law to check the 'surrogate' advertisement' for drinks and smoking in the media as suggested by Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss.

The 2008 Budget Session of Parliament(13th session of 14th Lok Sabha and the 213th Sesion of the Rajya Sabha) will conclude on May 9. However, the two Houses will adjourn for a recess for 25 days on March 20 to reassemble again on April 15, to enable the Department related Parliamentary Standing Committees to examine the Demands for Grants relating to various ministries and to make their reports to the Houses.

The Session will provide 35 sittings- 18 sittings during the first part and 17 sittings during the second after the recess.

The General Budget for 2008-09 will be presented at 1100 hrs on February 29 in the Lok Sabha to be preceded by the presentation of the Railway Budget on February 26 and laying of the Economic Survey 2007-08 in the House on February 28.

Regarding the issues to be taken up the Houses, Mr Dasmunsi said financial business of the government would be given priority as per the tradition of Parliament. Taking up of the other issues and the business of the Houses would be finalised by the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) meeting tomorrow, after the President's address to the joint session of both the Houses and adoption of the obituary references on the demise of one sitting member of each House.

Issues likely to be taken up include internal security and naxalite menace, attacks on Christians in Orissa, hate-campaign against north Indians in Maharashtra, Nepal border issue, Indo-US Nuclear deal, China's projected claim on Indian territory of Arunachal Pradesh and attempt to bifurcate the SGPC, a Sikh religious body in Punjab and Haryana and Sri Lanka issue.

Besides, Mr Dasmunsi said, agrarian crisis, price rise and inconclusive debate on the Eleventh Plan would also be taken up.

However, he ruled out taking up of the Telangana Bill for carving out a separate Telangana state from Andhra Pradesh, in the Budget session saying ''First, the proponents of Telangana should resume dialogue on the issue with the government.'' Meanwhile, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) MPs will try to block President Pratibha Patil's address to the joint session tomorrow.

Parliament will also discuss the issue of extension of an Ordinance regarding Nagaland, which expires in the first week of March and the Governor's report will be taken up for discussion later on.

Six Ordinances relating to Demilitation, Forward Contracts, Sugar Development Fund, Prasar Bharati and Food Safety and Standards would be taken up as Bills during the Session.

Five new Bills will be introduced and 11 others would be taken up for consideration in the 'A' category. In the 'B'category 15 Bills have been identified for introduction and 16 for introduction and consideration and passing.

UNI JSS MIR KN1935

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