New Delhi: An all-party meeting convened by Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari on Friday failed to bring a consensus on the passage of the GST bill, but members of the Upper House decided to pass six other pending bills in the remaining period of three days of the Winter Session. After the hour-long deliberations, Ansari merely said the meeting was "good".
"There has been a very meaningful discussion in the meeting. A number of parties have expressed concern over Parliament not functioning. All of them decided that the House should function. It has been decided to pass the pending government bills even by sitting for late hours," Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told reporters after the meeting.
Asked about the crucial GST bill, Naqvi said that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley made an appeal to the opposition to pass the constitution bill as well in the conducive atmosphere that has emerged after the meeting.
"But, I don't think the main opposition party has an agreement on this. They have not cleared their position," he said.
In the meeting, the members decided to pass the SC ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, the Appropriation Bills, the Anti Hijacking Bill, the Atomic Energy Amendment Bill, the Commercial Courts Ordinance Bill and the Arbitration and Conciliation Amendment Bill during the next week, sources said.
Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said, "Nothing new was discussed at this meeting apart from what was discussed at the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) meeting."
When asked whether Congress has agreed to passage of some bills, he said that some of the bills on which his party has committed support like the SC/ST bill will be passed alongwith Appropriation Bill.
"There is no decision on GST," Azad said.
Sources add that it was also decided that three bills, the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, the Whistle Blowers Protection Amendment Bill and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, will be discussed during the remaining period but the course of action will be decided upon later.
During the meeting it was also decided that discussions on matters of public importance like price rise, impact of flood and drought on agriculture, intolerance and a discussion on the developments in Arunachal Pradesh will also be taken up during the last three days.
Naqvi said that members have agreed to compensate for the loss of legislative business in the House by working for extra hours during the last days. Asked if the issue of giving more powers to Rajya Sabha Chairman to act against members disrupting the House was discussed at the meeting, he replied in the negative.