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Coal, Mines Bills referred to Select Committees

Two key Bills aimed at reforming coal and mines sectors are set to be delayed as these were on Wednesday referred to separate committees of Parliament after the government buckled under pressure from a united opposition to do so. The Select Committees, set up by the Rajya Sabha, were asked to submit their reports by March 18, two days before Parliament goes for a month-long recess in the Budget session.

The government bowed to Opposition pressure and agreed to refer these bills to the Select Committees after it faced the prospect of yet another embarrassment in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday night, when Opposition amendments to the Mines Bill appeared set to be passed. Rajya Sabha today referred the Bills to the two Select Committees, each having 19 members. Two Committees were finalised after a meeting Leader of the House and FM Arun Jaitley had with leaders of various parties, including Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad this morning. The Select Committee to look into the MMDR Amendment Bill, 2015, will be chaired by Bhupender Yadav of BJP and will have 18 other
members.

The Committee to look into the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill, 2015, will be headed by Anil Madhav Dave of BJP and has 18 other members from various parties. Both the Bills seek to replace the Ordinances issued by the government in this regard. The House on Tuesday saw a battle of wits for hours as opposition pressed for sending the Mines bill to a Select Committee which the government tried to stonewall, though unsuccessfully in the end.
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